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2016 College World Series -- Championship Round

Editorial by Rick Cabral

What If They Threw A Championship And Nobody Watched? 

The final college baseball game of the season, and hardly anyone watched it live. 


The NCAA—in its infinite wisdom—declined ESPN’s offer to show the third and final championship game this evening at the normal time 8 p.m. Eastern, and elected to spin the wheel and take a chance on ESPN-U, the only channel that was available at noon today as ESPN had commitments to broadcast Wimbleton tennis and Euro soccer. Apparently, several million fewer households get this channel, and so Coastal Carolina won its first-ever championship before a much smaller audience. 

And this came on the heels of last night’s postponement due to inclement weather. Talk about bad timing.

Factor in that ESPN listings (at least on DISH TV) showed today's start time at 5 p.m. Eastern. When I turned on the channel a few minutes before 2 p.m. today and saw the Chanticleers rolling around on the ground and grabbing their heads with tears in their eyes, it was clear the game was over and they had won the CWS.

Perhaps we can launch a conspiracy right here in Sacramento. 

The two teams playing for a national championship were Arizona, the number three seed from the Pac-12 (ESPN Analyst “As we all know the Pac-12 is down this year”) and Coastal Carolina which plays in the Big-something conference over there in the Outer Banks. Could ESPN and NCAA be a bit more chagrined? Not one of the eight top seeds played for the trophy.  

Of the two top seeds that did make it to the College World Series, No. 1 Florida and No. 3 Miami checked out faster than a Fuller Brush salesman, as both went “two and barbeque.” 

And what about No. 2 Louisville, who some trumpeted as the nation's true top seed? They were swept at home in the Louisville Super Regional by who else, the number three team in the Big West—UC Santa Barbara. Just as the Cardinals were defeated last year at home in the Supers by Cal State Fullerton, also from the Big West. 

The NCAA Baseball Regionals were filthy this year with teams from the southeast part of the country: 10 ACC teams and 9 SEC representatives, if memory serves. So, who made it to the big CWS dance? Super powers Florida and Miami, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU (three from the Big 12, that was the surprise), Arizona, Coastal Carolina and Santa Barbara. 

Apparently, there’s a bit more parity in the country than the analysts figured, and a darn side more talent west of the Mississippi (which also lost its first two games in the Regionals). 

So, here’s to Coastal Carolina. 

May the scrappy, “little-guy” continue to prove it’s not how big you are, but how you play the game of baseball.

And that baseball fans is our swan song for summer 2016. We may punch a story or two here on the site before the year is out, but as we’re focusing on writing/publishing a new novel, and revving an acting career, that’s where we must devote our time and energies.


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Coastal Carolina Captures First National Title with 4-3 Win Over Arizona
(Coastal Carolina Athletics)

OMAHA, Neb. -- Coastal Carolina capitalized on two errors on the same play for four unearned runs in the sixth inning, and the Chanticleers won their first national championship in any sport with a 4-3 victory over Arizona in Game 3 of the College World Series finals on Thursday.

Coastal Carolina (55-18) became the first team since Minnesota in 1956 to win the title in its first CWS appearance. Arizona (49-24) was trying for its second national title since 2012. Andrew Beckwith (15-1), the national leader in wins, went 5 2/3 innings after pitching two complete games and picked up his third victory of the CWS. He was named the Most Outstanding Player. Alex Cunningham earned his first save, striking out Ryan Haug with a full-count fastball to end the game after Arizona had pulled within a one in the bottom of the ninth.

Arizona's Bobby Dalbec (11-6) also worked 5 2/3 innings, with all the runs coming against him. He struck out eight to increase his CWS total to 25 in 20 innings.

The championship also was the first in a team sport in the 33-year history of the Big South Conference. The Big South could savor the accomplishment for only about eight hours. The Chanticleers become members of the Sun Belt Conference on Friday.

Arizona, which came into the day with just two errors in seven CWS games, saw second baseman Cody Ramer commit two on the same play to open the door to a four-run sixth inning for Coastal Carolina. Ramer couldn't get a handle on Zach Remillard's grounder, allowing David Parrett to score from third. Then Ramer tried to get Michael Paez running from second to third, but he overthrew Kyle Lewis. That allowed Paez to come home.

Next, G.K. Young launched a no-doubt homer into the seats above the right-field bullpen for a 4-0 lead. All four runs were unearned, and Dalbec was relieved by Cameron Ming after facing one more batter. Before the sixth inning, Ramer hadn't committed an error in 17 games.

The Wildcats cut the lead in half with two unearned runs in the bottom half against a tiring Beckwith. An error on first baseman Kevin Woodall Jr. and a walk loaded the bases before Jared Oliva's two-RBI single knocked out Beckwith. Bobby Holmes relieved and struck out No. 9 batter Louis Boyd to end the inning.

Coastal Carolina caught a break in the third inning after Cody Ramer sent a liner into right field that got under Connor Owings' glove and rolled to the wall. Ramer made it to third on the two-base error. Zach Gibbons then hit a comebacker to Beckwith, who went home as Ramer tried to score. After catching Beckwith's wide throw, catcher Parrett reached back to put the tag on Ramer, who was called out on an extremely close play.

Arizona's first two batters in the bottom of the ninth reached base against Cunningham, and Zach Gibbons' sacrifice fly made it a one-run game with two outs. Ryan Aguilar then doubled into the left-field corner, but Ramer was held at third to bring up Ryan Haug.

After Cunningham struck out Haug, he turned to his dugout, beat his chest with his fist three times and saluted before flipping his glove away to start celebrating with his teammates. 


Coastal Carolina Forces Decisive Game Three with 5-4 Win

by Editor Rick Cabral

OMAHA, Neb. – Coastal Carolina scored three runs in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and advance to the final championship game tomorrow night with a 5-4 win over Arizona. 

With one out in the eighth, Connor Owings fought off an inside pitch to hit a Texas Leaguer to left field, easily scoring the speedy Anthony Marx to give the Chanticleers (54-18) a 3-2 lead. Designated hitter G.K. Young knocked in the Chanticleers’ last two runs with a sharp single to right field off reliever Cameron Ming, who took the loss.

Marx had three hits on the night, including a third inning single that knocked in Coastal’s first two runs.

Arizona came back and narrowed the deficit in its half of the eighth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Aguilar scored on a fielder’s choice. Then with two out Coastal’s shortstop Michael Paez misplayed a grounder, allowing Dalbec to score, making it 5-4 CCU.

Coastal Carolina starter Mike Morrison—who hadn’t started a game all year—gave his team 6.2 strong innings. He allowed six hits, two earned runs, walked two and fanned 10 Arizona hitters.

The Wildcats scored one run in the first inning. With one out and the bases loaded Bobby Dalbec failed to connect on a suicide bunt and the runner was picked off third base. He then stroked a sharp infield single to plate Arizona’s first run. But it appeared the Wildcats missed a prime opportunity off Morrison, who was not on his game in the first inning.

After Marx put Coastal Carolina up 2-1 in the third inning, Arizona (49-23) tied the game in the fifth when Cody Ramer walked, and later scored on Ryan Aguilar’s fielder’s choice to make it 2-2.

Wildcats starter Kevin Ginkle pitched outstanding as well, scattering five hits through seven innings. He allowed two runs (one earned), struck out 10 and walked none.

Zach Gibbons went 3-for-4 for Arizona. He now has 13 hits at College World Series.

Last night, Arizona took Game One 3-0 behind J.C. Cloney’s four-hit shutout. Aguilar drove in two runs to give the Wildcats a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-three series at the CWS.


2016 College World Series

Gauchos Win Elimination Game 5-3, Oust Miami From CWS  

OMAHA, Neb -- In the first elimination game of the 2016 College World Series UC Santa Barbara beat No.3 Miami 5-3 and sent the Hurricanes home packing. 

After a 62-minute rain delay in the bottom of the sixth, the Gauchos loaded the bases. Pinch hitter Ryan Cumberland knocked in two runs as UC Santa Barbara took a 3-1 lead. The Gauchos scored twice more in typical West Coast fashion on consecutive safety squeeze bunts to expand their cushion to 5-1. 

Miami took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Zack Collins solo home run to right field off right hander Noah Davis. The Gauchos tied the game that inning on a J.J. Muno’s RBI single. Davis (7-4), who earned the victory, limited the Hurricanes to one more hit over the next five innings. 

Left hander Kyle Nelson relieved Davis to start the seventh inning. He allowed Miami two runs in the eighth inning. Coach Andrew Checketts sent Nelson to start the ninth inning, and after Jacob Hayward reached first on an infield single, Nelson induced a perfect come-backer to start a double play to end the game and notch his 10th save of the season. 

With the victory, UC Santa Barbara secures its first-ever win at the College World Series. After a 1-0 loss on Saturday to Oklahoma State, the Gauchos are 1-1 and will face the loser of the OK State-TCU matchup scheduled for later tonight. 

Miami, went 0-2 for the just the second time in its 24 appearances at the CWS.


2016 Super Regionals

LOUISVILLE, KY – With his team down 3-0 freshman Sam Cohen hit a pinch-hit ninth inning grand slam to propel UC Santa Barbara to its first-ever College World Series with a 4-3 walk-off win over Louisville.

In the second game of the Super Regional match up Santa Barbara was the home team.

The Gauchos, held scoreless for seven innings by lefty Drew Harrington, sent up the left-handed pinch hitter with the bases loaded with one out and the score 3-0 against Cardinals' All-American closer Zack Burdi.

The inning started when Burdi struck out Austin Bush (the Gauchos slugger went 0-for-4 today). He then gave up a single to JJ Muno and allowed two walks to load the bases for the backup catcher. Cohen blasted a 1-2 pitch down the right field line for the walk-off win to take down the N0. 2 Cardinals in two games. It was just Cohen’s second round-tripper and 11th run batted in for the season.

Louisville starter  Harrington was masterful through seven innings, fanning 12 Gauchos and allowing just six hits and one walk. Burdi, who was drafted in the first round on Thursday by the White Sox, took the loss.

UC Santa Barbara has yet to lose in the five games it has played at the Nashville Regional (3-0) and here in Louisville (2-0). 

Last year, Gauchos’ Big west rival Cal State Fullerton defeated the Cardinals in the Louisville Super Regional, who had been to the CWS three times in the past five years. 

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2016 Super Regionals

UC Santa Barbara Takes Game One 4-2 In Louisville Super Regional 

LOUISVILLE, Ky -- Right-hander Shane Bieber shut down host No. 2 Louisville to lead UC Santa Barbara (41-18-1) past the Cardinals 4-2 this afternoon. 

The Gauchos remain undefeated in playoff action, notching their fourth straight win after placing third in the Big West this season. 

Bieber (12-3) tossed seven innings, limiting Louisville to eight hits and two earned runs. He fanned seven and walked one to earn his 12th victory of the season. 



Shane Bieber earned his 12th win in Santa Barbara's 4-2 victory.
Photo on file.

In the fourth inning slugger Austin Bush clubbed a solo shot, his fourth of the playoffs, to give his team a 2-1 lead. Kyle Plantier later doubled to drive in the Gauchos third run. 

Louisville (50-13) opened the scoring in the third inning with a solo shot by Blake Tiberi to take a 1-0 lead. 

After that Bieber was brilliant, holding the Cardinals in check until the sixth when Tiberi drove in Louisville’s second run. UC Santa Barbara reliever Kyle Nelson threw two shutout innings to preserve the victory for the Gaucho’s, who need one more win to advance to the College World Series. 

Louisville ace Brendan McKay (12-4) allowed nine hits and all four of Gauchos runs for the loss. The sophomore left-hander struck out nine and walked none. Louisville was 36-1 at home coming in today’s game. 

Bieber yesterday was taken by Cleveland in the fourth round of the MLB Draft. 

The Gauchos swept the Nashville Regional last weekend with three consecutive wins to earn a place in today's Louisville Super Regional.


2016 NCAA Regionals

Santa Barbara's Offense Shells Xavier 14-5 to Take Nashville Regional

by Editor Rick Cabral

NASHVILLE, Tenn—UC Santa Barbara knocked in nine runs in the top of the fourth inning and went on to win 14-5 in the championship game against Xavier University in the Nashville Regional.

With their 40th victory of the season, the Gauchos march to the program's first-ever Super Regional tournament.

The key blows in that nine-run fourth were a three-run homer by Austin Bush to give the Gauchos a 4-2 lead. Awhile later Clay Fisher also hit a three-run round-tripper over the left field monster to give UCSB a 9-2 lead over the Muskateers.



Joe Record (above) was the winning pitcher for UCSB today versus Xavier.
(File photo from UC Davis game 2016)

In the next inning, the Gauchos padded their lead when Josh Adams (Pleasant Grove High) knocked in Bush with a sacrifice fly to put their team ahead 10-3. Bush led off the inning with a double.

Bush and Fisher, who each went 3-for-6 today, knocked in seven runs between them. Fisher went 7-for-15 with seven RBI for the tourney. Bush hit three home runs in the the Regional tournament (five RBI), including the game winner in the 14th inning of Friday’s 3-2 win over Washington.

The Gauchos defeated Xavier yesterday 5-4 to advance to today's championship game.

UC Santa Barbara will now take on the Louisville Cardinals in Kentucky for a best-of-three series to see who advances to the College World Series. Louisville was ranked No. 6 in the nation by Baseball America entering the playoffs.

Last year, UCSB hosted the Lake Elsinore Regional but lost its first two games as Virgina, the three seed, went on to win the regional and eventually the CWS. As Adams told us in an interview for our Spotlight feature, “Hopefully this year we get back in the regionals and go in and compete since we know what to expect.”
It showed in Nashville.

Ironically, the Super Regionals may be the second biggest event in town this coming weekend, as the body of Muhammad Ali returns to the champ’s hometown of Louisville for multiple celebration of life ceremonies.

~ ~ ~

Over the weekend in the Starkville Regional, Fullerton State lost two games by 4-1 and 6-2 scores to end its season.


2016 NCAA Regionals

Fullerton State Wins Continuation Game One 1-0 Over La Tech

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In a scoreless contest delayed by weather until Saturday morning, No. 2 Fullerton State (36-16) scored on a sacrifice fly in the 8th inning to go on to win 1-0 over No. 3 Louisiana Tech.

The Titans Josh Vargas opened the bottom of the eighth with a single, advanced to second base on a wild pitched and went to third base on a fielder's choice. Dalton Blaser (Roseville High/Sierra) the Big West Field Player of the Year was intentionally walked and Jerrod Bravo (Ponderosa High/Sac City College) was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Vargas scored on a infield grounder, and the Titans took Game One when two relievers combined to shut down the Bulldogs in the ninth.

Fullerton State takes on No. 1 Mississippi State this afternoon at 4:30 PDT.



2016 NCAA Regionals

NASHVILLE, Tenn -- Austin Bush hit a walk-off solo-shot in the 14th inning to give No. 2 UC Santa Barbara a 3-2 win over Washington in the Nashville Regional.


Austin Bush shown above in a game against UC Davis this spring hit a 14th inning walk-off home run against Washington in the Nashville Regional. (File photo from UC Davis game 2016)


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Locals Claim Awards

Oregon closer Stephen Nogosek (Woodcreek High) was selected to the Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-America  Third Team. “Nogo” finished 2-2 with a 1.11 earned run average with 16 saves, tying him for third in NCAA Division 1 with Troy Rallings (Washington) who was a First Team All-American selection. Nogosek posted 40.6 innings this season and 45 strikeouts to 14 walks.



In the Pac-12, Oregon State’s Nick Madrigal (Elk Grove High) made First Team All-Conference and was selected Freshman of the Year.
  Madrigal hit .333 on the season only the latest OSU player to earn conference freshman of the year honors, including teammate K J Harrison
  in 2015, Andrew Moore (2013), Michael Conforto (2012) and Darwin Barney (2005).

Fullerton State senior Dalton Blaser (Roseville High/Sierra College)  earned the Big West Field Player of the Year award after leading the Titans with a .362 batting average in 55 games. He led the team with 71 hits, 38 RBIs, a .495 slugging percentage and a .441 on-base percentage. He batted .419 in 24 Big West contests. Blaser becomes the second straight Titan, and 14th overall, to earn Big West Field Player of the Year.  

Senior Tanner Bily of UC Davis was selected Big West All-Conference Second Team.

Regional Playoff Note:

The Titans, winners of the Big West, start Regional Playoff action today as No. 2 seed in the Starkville Regional, where they face Louisiana Tech. Fullerton State hopes to return to the College World Series.


Oregon State’s Casey Not Happy at NCAA Tournament Snub

(Danny Moran | The Oregonian/OregonLive)

After his stunned players learned Monday that Oregon State's baseball team would not be in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008, head coach Pat Casey said his message was simple.

“Life sometimes isn't fair and this is a very unfair decision made by a group of people that don't play the game,” Casey told The Oregonian/OregonLive by phone.

The news that the selection committee did not give the Beavers an at-large bid to the 64-team postseason field came as a shock to the team's coaches and players. A series sweep of UCLA over the weekend put OSU (35-19, 16-14 Pac-12) into a three-way tie for third place in the Pac-12 standings with Arizona and Arizona State.

Both Arizona schools were among four league teams picked for the tournament, along with Washington and conference champion Utah. Oregon State was the second team out of the field after North Carolina.

Freshman Nick Madrigal of Elk Grove High fame finished the season batting .333, good for second place (100+AB). He got his first home run with a big fly over the left field wall on Saturday in the Beavers 3-0 win over UCLA. Madrigal, who played mostly second base all season, posted 11 doubles, five triples and 29 runs batted in to go with that one home run.

Oregon State secured its first-ever series sweep with three shutout wins of 1-0, 3-0 and 6-0 over UCLA. Conversely, this was the first time in UCLA baseball history that the Bruins were shutout in each game of a three-game series.

{Editor's note: We're right there with coach Casey in having a gripe over this year's NCAA Regional Host selections. This may be the first time that a California school from the Pacific Conference has not made the NCAA post-season baseball tournament. In 2016 you'll find no USC (which leads all schools with 12 CWS titles), nor Stanford or Cal (which both have two titles) or UCLA (which won it all in 2013). Eastern bias? Nah. The SEC and ACC teams are just more talented and played at a higher level this year.

Also, this may be a first: not one of the 16 Regional Hosts lies in the West (and we don't mean"Texas" which boasts three regional sites in Texas A&M, TCU and Texas Tech).

Final irony of the playoffs  : Texas Longhorns, who had the winningest coach in collegiate baseball history, failed to qualify for the tournament again this season. As a consequence, Augie Garrido (a California boy) resigned as the Longhorns head coach this week (although he will stay on in the Texas Athletics Department).

As Will Ferrel (a USC grad) must have said at sometime in his life, "Go freakin' figure."

(  Continue      to The Oregonian story)

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Speaking of Cal which took two of three at Washington State this weekend and finished 32-21...

With Sunday’s victory on the mound starting pitcher Ryan Mason (Placer High) concluded his career at Cal a winner, allowing five hits and two runs in seven innings to earn the victory, the 500th of Coach David Esquer’s career. Mason finished with an 8-4 record this season and 3.21 earned run average. His 26 career wins tied him for second all-time in Cal baseball history. 

Said Esquer after the game about Win No. 500:  “You reflect on all your players, you reflect on how long you've been here, the specialness of Cal and some of the trials and tribulations it took to get to 500. There have been some bumps in the road there,” Esquer said. “I really appreciate the guys putting the effort out.”

Senior Brian Celsi (Jesuit) returned last weekend from a broken thumb to conclude his memorable career with the Bears. With his performance against Washington State, Celsi raised his batting average to .294. 

Junior Aaron Knapp (Granite Bay High), one of only two Bears to play in all 53 games this season (Robbie Tenerowicz being the other), played a sterling center field, and finished with a .250 batting average. 

By mid-year freshman Tanner Dodson (Jesuit) had earned a weekend starter job and finished 2016 with a 4-5 mark and 3.36 ERA. 


Hornets Rally Twice But New Mexico State Wins 5-4

(Sac State Athletics) 

MESA, Ariz. – Sacramento State rallied from deficits of 3-1 and 4-3 but New Mexico State got a walk-off RBI single from Greg Popylisen in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 win on Friday at the WAC Tournament.  

In this elimination game Sacramento State (30-28) saw its season come to a close as New Mexico State (34-22), the No. 2 seed for the conference tournament, kept its season alive. 

The Hornets battled into the late innings for the second consecutive day but came up short by the same 5-4 score as Thursday's tough loss against Seattle U. Sacramento State came back to tie Friday's game twice against Aggie closer Joe Galindo and narrowly missed a 3-run homer in the top of the ninth before NM State won it in the bottom half.  

Trailing 3-1 in the top of the eighth inning, the Hornets loaded the bases with two out on two hits and a walk before sophomore Vinny Esposito (Granite Bay High) delivered a two-run single into left field to knot the game 3-3. The Aggies would regain the lead in the bottom of the inning on a leadoff single, stolen base, and RBI single from Dan Hetzel. 

Down to its last three outs in the top of the ninth, sophomore PJ Floyd drew a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt and wild pitch moved him to third base with one away. Senior Chris Lewis tied the game with a line single up the middle then stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Freshman James Outman’s fly ball to left field just missed leaving the yard for a 3-run homer as it was caught at the wall. 

The Hornets set down the first two Aggies in the bottom of the ninth but Brent Sakurai had a single and moved to second as Daniel Johnson reached on a fielding error. Popylisen then sent a 2-2 pitch into shallow right field and Sakurai scored with the winning run. 

Hornet senior Grant Kukuk and New Mexico State starter Matthew McHugh traded zeros for four innings. The Aggies scored twice in the bottom of the fifth on three hits before the Hornets got a run back in the sixth when sophomore Andrew McWilliam drove in junior Trent Goodrich with a 2-out single. 

Mason Fishback had an RBI single in the sixth inning to put the Aggies ahead 3-1 and the Hornets loaded the bases with two out in the seventh inning before NM State got out of the inning. 

Kukuk had another strong start in his final collegiate game, going seven innings and allowing just seven hits and three runs with no walks and three strikeouts. McHugh went 6.1 for the Aggies, allowing five hits and one walk and just one earned run. Galindo essentially blew the save twice and allowed two hits and three walks while getting just four outs but was credited with the win. 

McWilliam was 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run while ending the season having reached base in 19 consecutive games. Junior Kody Reynolds was 2-for-4 and raised his average to .300 for the year, as the Hornets had 10 hits in the game and created 16 at-bats with runners on base while hitting a superb .400 (4-for-10) with runners in scoring position. 

Lewis, who led the Hornets in 2016 with hits (69) average (.308), doubles (16) and home runs (7), ended his storied career by recording a hit in his 13th consecutive WAC Tournament game. He ends his Hornet career second in program history with 136 career RBI, third with 232 hits, and fifth with 47 career doubles. He was the WAC Freshman of the Year, a Freshman All-American, and a two-time all-WAC selection and two-time all-WAC Tournament choice. He was also the MVP of the 2014 WAC Tournament leading the Hornets to the first Div. I NCAA Regional in program history. 

Other team highlights in 2016 included: 

-    Reggie Christiansen’s Hornets team (30-28) won 30 games for the fifth straight season; 

-    Junior Tyler Beardsley, last night’s hard-luck loser, finished with the lowest earned run average (1.71) of pitchers with 25+ innings, and led the team in saves (11); 

-    Junior Max Karnos who started 15 games led the starters with the most wins (7-3) and the lowest ERA (3.58); 

-    Junior Sam Long (5-8), who led the staff in innings pitched (85.2), tossed a gem in his final game last night, lowering his ERA to just under 4 runs per game (3.99). 



Seattle Rallies in 9th, Top Hornets 5-4 at WAC Tournament

(Sac State Athletics)

MESA, Ariz. – Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning top-seed Seattle U strung together five hits with Dalton Hurd's walk-off RBI single giving the Redhawks a 5-4 win over No. 4 Sacramento State on Friday night in the WAC Tournament.

A fantastic start from junior Sam Long and strong relief work from senior Tyler Beardsley (4-2) permitted just one run and only four hits through the first eight innings of the game, but the Redhawks opened the bottom of the ninth with three straight singles against Beardsley before Curtis Perrin had a two-run double, Griffin Andreychuk hit a sacrifice fly, and Perrin scored on Hurd's one-out single up the middle.

Sacramento State (30-27) lost when leading after seven innings for the first time this season (had been 23-0).

The regular season conference champion and top seed in the WAC Tournament, Seattle U (36-19) moves on to face Utah Valley in the winners bracket tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Earlier on Thursday CSU Bakersfield eliminated Northern Colorado with an 11-6 win and Utah Valley beat second-seeded New Mexico State 3-2.  

The Hornets will play in an elimination game on Friday at 3 p.m. against the winner of the 11 a.m. game between New Mexico State and CSU Bakersfield.

Long allowed just one run and three hits with six strikeouts over six innings. He walked two men in the first inning and gave up a run on a Sean Sutton RBI single but that would be the only run he allowed. The Hornets tied the game at 1-1 in the third inning when PJ Floyd hit a two-out single before advancing to second and third on Seattle errors and scoring on a wild pitch.

Redhawk senior Ted Hammond also had a strong start as he allowed just the one unearned run through six innings, but in the seventh inning the Hornets staged an uprising. With two outs and a man on first, the Hornets strung together four incredible at-bats against reliever Connor Moore (4-0).

All four of the ensuing at-bats went to full counts. Moore got a six-pitch strikeout before junior Trent Goodrich drew a six-pitch walk and senior Chris Lewis had a nine-pitch walk to load the bases. Sophomore Andrew McWilliam then had a nine-pitch at-bat, fouling off four straight pitches before doubling into left field to clear the bases and put the Hornets ahead 4-1.

Moore got the last out of the seventh inning and pitched the eighth and ninth to earn the win when the Redhawks rallied. Seattle U outhit the Hornets 9-4 while no player on either team had more than one hit in the contest and McWilliam and Perrin had the only multi-RBI lines.


Sac State Rallies For 8-7 Win over Northern Colorado  in WAC Tourney

MESA, Ariz--   No. 4 Sacramento State (30-26) rebounded from a six-run first inning deficit to take the first game of the Western Athletic Conference tournament 8-7 over No. 5 Northern Colorado (16-33). 

Trailing 7-5 in the sixth inning, the Hornets scored three runs on an RBI double by pinch-hitter Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) and the game-winning two-run homer by P.J. Floyd (Whitney High) which gave the Hornets an 8-7 lead.

Sac State starting pitcher Max Karnos was roughed up for six earned runs in the first and only inning he completed. 

Austin Root (Oak Ridge High) came on in the second and pitched five innings of five-hit ball, allowing just one more run to the Bears. Chad Perry (Marysville High) and closer Ty Beardsley combined for three scoreless innings to preserve the win. 

In the ninth inning Beardsley allowed a one-out single. With the tying run on first base and two outs the right-hander struck out the last batter on a full count to earn his 11th save of the season. Root (1-1) was the winner in relief. 

Down by six in the bottom of the first inning, Sac State rallied to score two runs on a Andrew McWilliam RBI single and Kody Reynolds run-scoring double. 

In the third, the Hornets added two more on senior Chris Lewis’ seventh home run of the season. 

The Bears outhit the Hornets 12 to nine, but made two errors in the contest, while the home team played clean baseball. Floyd went 2-for-3 with three runs scored. Reynolds and catcher Gunner Polman each went 2-for-4 for the Hornets. 

Allen Cook (3-2) came on in relief of Northern Colorado starter Corey Nakamura in the third inning. He tossed 3.1 innings, gave up four runs (3 earned) and was handed the loss. 

Sacramento State will play its second game either tomorrow afternoon (3 p.m.) or evening (7 p.m.) depending on who wins this evening’s contest between No. 3 Utah Valley vs. No. 6 CSU Bakersfield. 




(Sac State Athletics)  

MESA, Ariz. – Sacramento State had three players named to the All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) team at the conference awards banquet Tuesday night in Mesa, Ariz. Junior right handed pitcher Max Karnos was named to the first team while senior outfielder Chris Lewis and junior right handed pitcher Tyler Beardsley were selected to the second team. 

Sacramento State had a player selected first team all-WAC for the fifth consecutive season and had multiple all-WAC selections for the fifth straight year. 

Karnos had the best ERA among all starting pitchers in WAC play, going 6-2 with a 2.27 ERA in nine WAC starts. He allowed two earned runs or fewer in seven of his nine WAC starts and has a 7-3 record with a 2.77 ERA overall this season. He allowed just 26 earned runs in 84.1 innings pitched with two complete game shutouts and a shared shutout.   

In his first season at Sacramento State after transferring from Western Nevada College, Karnos was especially effective in his last three starts of the regular season. Over his last three starts (three Hornet wins) Karnos allowed just three earned runs for a 1.17 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, and a .187 opposing batting average. He has allowed just two extra-base hits (both doubles) over the three games and had a 16-inning scoreless streak. He threw a shutout against Utah valley and allowed just one run over eight innings at Grand Canyon. 

Lewis earned his second all-WAC selection in his storied Hornet career. A fifth-year senior from Newark, Lewis leads the team hitting .310 with six home runs, 39 RBIs, and 33 runs scored this season. He also has the highest on-base percentage and slugging percentage on the team with seven stolen bases, and in WAC play he hit .324 with 24 RBIs. 

Lewis leads the team with 19 multi-hit games and 10 multi-RBI games, including a pair of 4-RBI games. A former Freshman All-American and the 2014 WAC Tournament MVP, Lewis ranks third in program history in career RBIs (133) and hits (229) and is fifth in doubles (47) and career at-bats (777).  

Beardsley took over as the team's closer in 2016 and has been nearly unhittable, allowing just five earned runs over 43.2 innings pitched this year for a 1.03 ERA with a .207 opposing batting average. He did not allow a run in his first 15.0 innings pitched in WAC play and had a 0.28 ERA over his first 32 innings pitched this year. 

~ ~ ~

Hornets Hope to Reprise 2014 WAC Tournament Crown

Sacramento State (29-26, 16-11 WAC) opens tournament play tomorrow at 3 p.m. against Northern Colorado (16-32, 11-12 WAC) in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. The six-team, double-elimination tournament runs through at least Saturday and possibly Sunday if necessary at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, Ariz.  

For the second straight year, the Hornets are the No. 4 seed and lead the WAC with seven tournament wins over the last two seasons (Sac State won the title in 2014). 

In 10 career WAC Tournament games in Arizona, senior Chris Lewis has hits in all 10 games and is 18-for-39 (.462) with 10 RBI. He was named the WAC Tournament MVP in 2014 and made the all-tournament team last year. 

Sacramento State ranks second in the WAC in ERA, opposing batting average, WHIP, and double plays turned, while the offense is second in doubles and stolen bases, and fourth in home runs. 


Utes Edge Bears, 6-5, Take the Series 

(Cal Athletics) 

BERKELEY - Despite three shutout innings in the return of starting pitcher Daulton Jefferies, Utah scored two runs in the ninth inning to edge California 6-5 to win the series Monday night at Evans Diamond. 

The game was a seesaw battle that saw starting pitcher Ryan Mason (Placer High) enter in the ninth inning in his first relief appearance of the year with no out and a runner on first and the Bears leading 5-4 over the Pac-12’s top team. After striking out the next two hitters, Mason allowed a walk. Then Kody Davis knocked in both runs in with a double to right center for the eventual game-winning hit. 

Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth the Bears (30-20, 12-15) took the lead with a two-run double by sophomore Denis Karas who had three hits in the game. Senior Mitchell Kranson singled to start the inning, followed by a fielder’s choice by sophomore Brett Cumberland. A walk to senior Nick Halamandaris put two runners on. To show the importance of this game, senior Brian Celsi (Jesuit) who is out of commission due to a broken thumb, pinch ran for Cumberland. He scored ahead of Halamandaris when Karas sliced a double down the right field line. 

Karas and junior Aaron Knapp (Granite Bay High) collected three hits on the night, each going 3-for-4, while Kranson also notched two hits. 

The Bears’ hopes to take the series were lifted when former Friday night starter Jefferies made his first appearance since March 24. He dominated the Utes through three complete innings with no runners reaching base. 

“I felt good. I felt like I could have gone a longer, which I guess is a good sign,” Jefferies said. “The last few weeks have probably been one of the worst experiences in my whole life, not pitching with these guys. I’ve said it before, these guys are like my brothers and Esquer is like a stepdad.” 

Cal jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with two runs in the bottom of the first off of back-to-back RBI singles from Kranson and Halamandaris. 

The Bears added one more run in the bottom of the fifth when Knapp scored off of an error. 

In the top of the sixth, Utah scored three times to tie the game at 3-3 off of a home run, an RBI single and a Ute who scored during a pickle play. The Utes took a short-lived lead in the eighth on a fielder’s choice before Karas knocked his double in the eighth. 

Monday’s game marked the final appearance at Evans Diamond for Cal’s 11 seniors – Celsi, Grant Diede, Brenden Farney, Halamandaris, Jesse Kay, Kranson, Mason, Devin Pearson,Sean Peters, Keaton Siomkin and Jordan Talbot. 

Added Esquer: “You don’t get a chance to coach a team like this that often. But just bad fortune with Jefferies going down and not being available for weeks, which is unfortunate for us because we’re a different team and program with him. This is a program that’s had Friday night starters the likes of Brandon Morrow, Tyson Ross and Erik Johnson. Those are all major league starters right there, and the guy who threw tonight is one of those.” 

Cal hits the road for the final series of the regular season, a three-game set at Washington State from May 27-29. All three games can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.

(Editor's Note: With last night's loss, the Bears RPI has dropped to 68, which places Cal out of the running for selection to the NCAA Regional Playoffs. Even with a sweep of Washington State next weekend, they're now a longshot to make the tourney. Pac-12 teams ahead of the Bears include: Arizona-25, Arizona State-39, Oregon State-52, Washington-53.

Utah at 101 RPI will only make the tournament if they win the conference. The Utes play host to Washington this weekend to determine the conference champion.



Cal Rides Dodson’s Arm to 9-2 Win Over Utes

BERKELEY- Senior Nick Halamandaris belted his fifth home run of the season, and pitcher Tanner Dodson posted a strong game as California beat Utah 9-2 Sunday night at Evans Diamond. The Golden Bears (30-19, 12-14) evened the series with the win.

Dodson (Jesuit) went six and a third innings against the Pac-12 leader, allowing two earned runs on eight hits and he struck out two Utes. Senior Keaton Siomkinpitched the rest of the way, allowing no hits and he struck out two.

Five Bears garnered multi-hit games including sophomore Brett Cumberland who collected two hits, two RBI and two runs scored. The four other Bears to collect multiple hits were senior Devin Pearson, senior Mitchell Kranson, sophomore Preston Grand Pre and Halamandaris. Pearson also scored twice.

“I think they just needed to relax a little bit,” Cal head coach David Esquersaid, who is now just two wins away from 500 career coaching victories. “I think they’re pressing. I’ve said it all along, they want it so bad. They’ve put a lot of pressure on themselves. They just need to relax and play ball.”

The Bears and Utes conclude this series Monday, May 23, at 7 p.m. from Evans Diamond. The game can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.


Sac State Drops Final Game 6-3 and Series to Seattle

(Sac State Athletics)

Sacramento State dropped the final game of the regular season at hom on "Senior Day" as Seattle University won 6-3.

The Hornets pounded out 11 hits and chipped away after Seattle U took an early 6-0 after two innings. The loss was inconsequential for Sacramento State (29-26, 16-11 WAC), which knew after last night's loss that they would be the Number 4 seed in next week's Western Athletic Conference tournament in Mesa, Arizona. The Hornets will open play at 3 p.m. Wednesday against fifth-seeded Northern Colorado, who they swept at home in April. 

With the win and a loss by New Mexico State on Saturday, Seattle U (35-19, 21-6) won the regular season WAC title and will be the top seed for the conference tournament. For the second consecutive year the tournament will be played at Hohokam Stadium, the spring training home of the Oakland Athletics, in Mesa, Ariz.

Senior Chris Lewis was 2-for-5 with an RBI single in his final home game. The three other Hornet seniors also saw action in their final home game as Grant Kukuk was the starting pitcher, Josh Egan started at catcher, and Tyler Beardsley threw two scoreless inning of relief out of the bullpen.


State Falls To Seattle 3-0 After 2 1/2 Hour Rain Delay

(Sac State Athletics)

In a game that started at 9:30 p.m. after a two and a half hour rain delay, Seattle University (34-19, 20-6 WAC) sophomore lefty Nick Meservey permitted just two hits and one walk with nine strikeouts over eight shutout innings to lead the Redhawks to a 3-0 win over Sacramento State (29-25, 16-10 WAC).

Meservey took a no-hitter into the seventh inning on Friday, allowing just four base runners on two singles, one walk, and one hit batter. Sacramento State junior Sam Long matched Meservey as neither pitcher allowed a hit until the fifth inning. Long allowed just two runs (one earned) on four singles and three walks over six innings. He struck out a career-high nine batters, topping his previous career best total by two strikeouts, but took a hard-luck loss.

Sophomore Andrew McWilliam recorded the first Hornet hit with a one-out single in the seventh inning to continue his hitting streak to 15 games.

Zach Wolf earned his WAC-leading 11th save of the season pitching the ninth inning for the Redhawks. Junior Austin Ragsdale kept the Hornets close allowing just one run and four hits in three innings of relief.

Saturday will be senior day for the Hornets as they wrap up the regular season. Senior Grant Kukuk will start for Sacramento State and will be honored along with fellow seniors Josh Egan, Tyler Beardsley, and Chris Lewis after the game.

With the loss and a win on Saturday by Utah Valley, Sacramento State is locked in as the No. 4 seed for next week's WAC Tournament in Mesa, Ariz. The Hornets will play in the first game of the tournament at 3:00 p.m. next Wednesday against the No. 5 seed, which will be either CSU Bakersfield or Northern Colorado depending on results on Saturday.

Seattle U will have a chance to win the regular season WAC title on Saturday. The Redhawks are tied with New Mexico State atop the league standings heading into the final day of the regular season. SU can clinch a share of the regular season championship with a win tomorrow but would also need a New Mexico State loss to earn the No. 1 seed for the WAC Tournament.


Hornets Claim First “Night” Victory 6-3 Over Seattle U 

by Editor Rick Cabral

On a night when starter Max Karnos was less than “magnificent,” Sacramento State (29-24, 16-9 WAC) rose to the occasion, outscoring Seattle 6-3 in the first of a three-game series. 

It was also the Hornets first “night” victory at home under their new lights.

Sacramento State senior Chris Lewis—playing his final home series of his four-year career—banged out two hits and knocked in two runs.  

Karnos (7-3), who has been sensational all season (hence our nickname for him “Karnos the Magnificent” a spinoff of the Johnny Carson character) went six innings, allowing three hits and two earned runs. But the right-hander walked six, which kept the Redhawks in the game. Until tonight, he had walked only 20 batters in 78.1 innings.

The Hornets’ pitcher showed control problems from the start, walking Seattle’s first two batters on nine pitches. Then Karnos induced a 6-4-3 double play, leaving the lead runner on third. Cleanup hitter Sean Sutton lined out to right field to end the Redhawks rally. 

In the Redhawks second inning, with one out they loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk. Kurtis Perrin hit a smash to first baseman Kody Reynolds who tried for a double play, but was successful only in getting the lead runner at second base, which scored Seattle’s first run. 

The Hornets got their stingers working in the third inning. Gunner Polman lined a single to left field. Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) was hit by a pitch. Bronson Grubbs’ sacrifice was bunted too hard back to Seattle’s pitcher Ted Hammond, who threw out Polman at third base. Both runners advanced to scoring position when Hammond (8-3) was called for a balk.

Trend Goodrich’s smash up the middle was stopped by Seattle’s second baseman, but not in time to make a play and Hunley scored to tie the game 1-1. P.J. Floyd’s (Whitney High) sacrifice fly plated Grubbs for the Hornets’ second run. Goodrich stole second base, and scored on Lewis’ RBI single. Andrew McWilliam laced a double to left field and Lewis scored all the way from first to give Sacramento State a 4-1 lead. 

But in the fourth inning, Karnos again walked the first two batters he faced. Jeffrey Morgan lined a shot off the pitcher’s glove to load the bases. Kyler Murphy grounded out to shortstop to drive in Seattle’s second run, making the score 4-2. 

Karnos retired the side in the fifth, and after allowing a leadoff walk to open the sixth inning (his sixth bases on balls), the pitcher retired the next three batters to keep the Hornets in the lead, 4-2. 

Reliever Chad Perry (Marysville High) started the seventh inning and allowed an unearned run as the Redhawks closed the gap to 4-3. 

Hornets’ closer Tyler Beardsley pitched a perfect eighth inning, and the home team took the excitement of a shutdown inning to the plate.

Goodrich led off with a single and was sacrificed to second base. Lewis singled sharply to left field, and with Coach Reggie Christiansen “windmilling” the runner to score, Goodrich rounded third and started sprinting for home. Christiansen changed his mind late, held up his arms, but Goodrich ran right through the stop sign. Fortunately, the relay throw was bobbled near the mound and Sacramento State had an insurance run and a 5-3 lead.

McWilliam (one of the Hornets hottest hitters of late) then doubled Lewis to third base. With Seattle’s infield drawn-in, Reynolds’ hot smash was bobbled by the first baseman, whose only play was to step on first, which allowed Lewis to score. The Hornets suddenly owned a 6-3 advantage. 

With Beardsley on the hill in a closing role and a three-run lead, the Hornets usually seal the deal, and they did tonight earning the pitcher his 10th save of the season.

In addition to Lewis' fine day at the plate, McWilliam and Goodrich each went 2-for-4 with one run driven in. While the Hornets stole three bases in the contest, Seattle wisely didn't attempt one. Sac State catcher Gunner Polman leads the WAC with 28 runners caught stealing, one better than last year's mark. With the loss Seattle (33-19, 19-6 WAC) falls into a first-place tie in the Western Athletic Conference standings with New Mexico State (which owns the tie breaker with the Redhawks). The outcome of this series may well determine the WAC Conference champion and tournament seeding. Sac State and Utah Valley are now tied for third place.

The Hornets and Redhawks face off again tomorrow night (we’re still unaccustomed to writing that after all those afternoon games) at 7 p.m. at John Smith Field.  


Hornets Fall 9-6 In First Night Game at John Smith Field

(by Editor Rick Cabral)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State (28-24) celebrated its first night game under the new lights at John Smith Field but unfortunately came away with a 9-6 loss to University of the Pacific (21-28) tonight in a non-conference matchup.


Former head coaches John Smith (left) and Cal Boyes (center) joined head coach Reggie Christiansen for the lighting ceremony tonight at John Smith Field.

Hornets former c
oaches John Smith and Cal Boyes joined skipper Reggie Christiansen on the field for the "lighting ceremony" which turned on the eight light standards at 6:50 p.m. Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen threw out throw out the first pitch before the Hornets took the field. An announced crowd of 881, the largest in many a moon, showed up for this event.

In the early going UOP dominated as the Tigers took a 7-0 lead by the third inning, thanks to big blows by their sluggers Danny Mayer and Gio Brusa. The rest of the crew chipped in too.

To leadoff, JJ Wagner doubled down the left field line. One out later, Brusa hit his 12th home run of the season over the wall in right field to give UOP a 2-0 lead.

Two innings later Danny Mayer clubbed a solo shot for his team-leading 15th home run of the season, placing him in a two-way tie for second all-time. The Tigers scored four more times in that inning to take a 7-0 lead.

UOP starting pitcher Ricky Reynoso allowed just three hits through the first three innings, with P.J. Floyd homering (his 3rd) over the right field wall to make it 7-1.

The Tigers scored again in the fourth when Brusa doubled to knock in Mayer who singled in front of him. That hit was Brusa's 46th career double, which puts him in second place all-time.

In the seventh inning, Kody Reynolds banged a tw0-run homer to cut the lead t0 8-3. But in the ninth, Brusa homered for the second time, extending the UOP lead to 9-3. He went 4-for-5 with four runs batted in.

The Hornets rallied in their final frame. An RBI single by Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) and a 2-RBI single by James Outman cut the gap to 9-6, but the Sacramento State rally fell short.

Reynoso (3-4), a freshman, went seven innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs for the win. He struck out seven and walked none.

Tanner Olson (3-5), who started for the Hornets lasted just 2.2 innings, allowed six earned runs and took the loss.

Relievers Austin Root of Oak Ridge High (4 innings, 3 hits, 1 run) and Chad Perry of Marysville High (1 inning no hits) cooled down the Tigers juggernaut, allowing the hometown Hornets to get back in the game.


Gio Brusa homered twice and drove in four runs for the Tigers.


Behind Blaser's Big Bat, Fullerton State Takes Series With 6-3 Win
 UC Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- In the decisive rubber match between two Big West leaders, Dalton Blaser knocked in four runs as No. 22 Fullerton State (32-17) won 6-3 to take the series against the No. 24 Gauchos (32-15-1).

Blaser (Roseville High/Sierra College) went 3-for-5 this afternoon, knocking in three of the Titans six runs. He also scored on a wild pitch. Blaser extended his hitting streak to 12 games, raised his average to .381 overall (.475  in Big West) and now has a team-leading 36 runs batted in to go with 11 doubles and four home runs, giving him an OPS of .983 for the season.

Fullerton State dropped Friday's contest 3-2 butblew away the Gauchos yesterday on their home field 18-2. With the win the Titans (14-4 Big West)  lead second-place Long Beach State by three games with two series left on the schedule: Hawai'i at home next weekend and they finish on the road at Long Beach State to close out the season.

With today's loss Santa Barbara (10-8 Big West) drops to third place.

~ ~ ~

Ducks Win 6-3, Take Series from Oregon State

EUGENE, Ore. -- Closer Stephen Nogosek (Woodcreek High) preserved Oregon's 6-3 lead in the ninth inning tonight to earn his 13th save of the season. The No. 13 Beavers had  the potential tying run at the plate in Christian Donohue, but Nogosek fanned the hitter to end the game.

Oregon improves to 24-22, 12-12 in Pac-12, while Oregon State drops to 30-18, but more importantly falls four games behind first-place Utah with their 11-13 Pac-12 record.

~ ~ ~

Bears Bash In Doubleheader Wins
Cal Scores 28 Runs Combined On Sunday

(Cal Athletics)

EVANSTON, Ill - The California offense picked up right where it left off on Saturday with 15-3 and 13-2 wins over Northwestern in a doubleheader Sunday afternoon at R&B Miller Park. Through the first three games of this four-game series, the Golden Bears (28-18, 11-13 Pac-12) have outscored the Wildcats, 44-5.   

Today’s 12-run and 11-run Cal wins gave the Bears three straight double-digit wins for the first time since a series against Southern Utah in 2010. 

The 44 Cal runs broke the record for most runs in a four-game series with head coach David Esquer at the helm. The previous record was 39 against Loyola Marymount in 2008. The Bears are seven runs shy of the record for runs in any series under Esquer, which is 51, set in 2000 against Arizona. The 44 runs currently ranks third, as Cal notched 46 in a series once, as well. 

After homering twice on Saturday, sophomore catcher Brett Cumberland went yard again in the second game of the doubleheader on Sunday. His three-run home run in the fourth inning extended Cal’s lead to 5-0. Cumberland now has 15 home runs this season. 

After Northwestern got two runs back in the sixth inning, the Bears strung together a seven-run eighth inning to put the game out of contention. Sophomore Denis Karas slugged a three-run homer as part of that seven-run rally, his second of the day. Prior to the home run, senior Nick Halamandaris plated two with a base hit after a walk with the bases loaded and a Wildcat error brought home the first two runs of the inning. 

“It’s great to see us getting the bats rolling again as we head into the final stretch of the season,” Karas said. “We’re looking forward to playing another good game tomorrow and carrying this momentum into next weekend.” 

True freshman Joey Matulovich got the start in game two and went six complete, allowing two earned runs on three hits and three walks, while striking out three. He picked up his first win of the season, evening his record to 1-1. 

In both games, five Bears picked up multi-hit games, with Karas the only Bear to accomplish the feat in both games. In game two, Halamandaris went 3-for-6 with two RBI and a run scored. Cumberland finished 2-for-3 with four RBI, three runs scored, two walks and a home run. Although junior Robbie Tenerowicz didn’t garner a hit in game two, he scored three times in three plate appearances with two walks. 

Aaron Knapp (Granite Bay HIgh) went 3-for-8 in today's double-header and scored three times.

~ ~ ~

Bears Maul Wildcats 15-3 in First Game of DH 

(Cal Athletics) 

EVANSTON, Ill - The California bats stayed red hot as the Golden Bears (27-18, 11-13 Pac-12) took Game One in a doubleheader against Northwestern on Sunday afternoon, topping the Wildcats, 15-3, from R&B Miller Park.

The 12-run win marked the first time Cal has notched back-to-back double-digit wins since 2010 against Southern Utah.

Sophomore Denis Karas went 3-for-5 with three RBI, two runs scored and one of his hits was a home run.

The Bears took a 2-0 lead into the fifth inning when they broke the game open. Following an RBI single by senior third baseman Mitchell Kranson, sophomore Preston Grand Pre knocked in two with a base hit of his own.

An inning later in the sixth, junior Robbie Tenerowicz collected two RBI on a triple, and he would later score on an RBI ground out by Kranson. Tenerowicz ended Game One with three RBI as he went 2-for-5 with a double, a triple and two runs scored.

Through five and a half, Cal held an 8-0 lead and never lost control of the game.

Kranson, Grand Pre and senior Devin Pearson were the other Bears to collect multiple hits. Pearson also scored three times.

True freshman pitcher Tanner Dodson (Jesuit)picked up the win, improving to 3-4 on the year. Dodson went five and a third, allowing three runs, two earned runs on five hits, while striking out two.

~ ~ ~

Sac State Drops Game Three 4-3 at Grand Canyon U

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Grand Canyon University (23-26-1) broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning when Thomas LaRouge singled off Tyler Beardsley, was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and came home on a game-winning single by Garrison Schwarz to defeat Sacramento State (28-23) 4-3 this afternoon. 

For Beardsley (4-1), it was his first loss of the season. He relieved for Grant Kekuk who allowined seven hits and three earned runs over seven innings.


Sacramento State Beats Grand Canyon Again 8-3 Saturday Night 

(Sac State Athletics) 

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Junior Sam Long threw six scoreless innings and senior Chris Lewis went 4-for-5 with a 2-run home run as Sacramento State clinched a series win against Grand Canyon with an 8-3 victory on Saturday night.   

Sacramento State (28-22, 15-8 WAC) got another brilliant performance from its starting pitcher after junior Max Karnos allowed just one run over eight innings on Friday. Long permitted just two singles over his six innings of work to pick up his fifth victory of the year. 

Lewis recorded the third 4-hit game of his career. He hit a 2-out, 2-run home run in the first inning, singled and scored in the third, singled, stole second, and scored in the fifth, and singled in the ninth inning. He tallied Sacramento State's second 4-hit game this season (Andrew McWilliam had the other at Fresno State). 

The Hornets outhit the Antelopes 14-7 with five extra-base hits. Junior Gunner Pollman was 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored, junior Kody Reynolds was 2-for-4 with two doubles, and sophomore PJ Floyd was 2-for-5 with a run and RBI. Junior Bronson Grubbs had a hit and drove in two runs and junior Trent Goodrich had a double.   

~ ~ ~

Cal Offense Erupts With 16-0 Win At Northwestern

Pearson And Cumberland Homer Twice For Cal


(Cal Athletics)

EVANSTON, Ill. – Led by two home runs from senior designated hitter Devin Pearsonand sophomore catcher Brett Cumberland, the California offense exploded, as the Golden Bears (26-18, 11-13 Pac-12) scored in every inning and defeated Northwestern, 16-0, Saturday afternoon at R&B Miller Park. It was the first time under head coach David Esquerthat Cal scored in every inning in a game.

“Great effort by Mason and the offense,” Esquer said. “Ryan had three pitches working, and Pearson and Cumberland had some big swings for us. Good to see us swing the bats well and get good pitching.”

It was Pearson’s second three-hit game of the season. It was also the first time this year he has homered twice in a game. Pearson ended the day 3-for-5 with two home runs, three RBI and two runs scored.

Cumberland went 3-for-4 with two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored. It was his second multi-home run performance this season.

They were two of five Bears to pick up multiple hits. Senior third baseman Mitchell Kranson, senior right fielderSean Petersand sophomore second baseman Preston Grand Precollected two hits each.

Equally as impressive as the offensive showcase was the efforts of senior pitcher Ryan Masonwho improved to 7-2 on the year. He only allowed three hits through six innings of work. Mason also struck out 10 batters, tying his season high and two shy of his career best. He is now tied for third in school history in career wins with 25, and he is 10th in career innings pitched.


Hornets Open Grand Canyon Series with 4-1 Win 

(Sac State Athletics)

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Junior Max Karnos put together his second straight outstanding start, allowing just one run over eight innings, and sophomore P.J. Floyd hit a 2-run home run as Sacramento State picked up a 4-1 win over Grand Canyon in the series opener on Friday night in Phoenix.

Karnos threw seven shutout innings to start the game after tossing a shutout last Friday against Utah Valley. He had a 16-inning scoreless streak snapped as GCU scored a run in the eighth inning but he lowered his season ERA to 2.76 in his sixth win of the year. Each team had eight hits in the game but Karnos scattered the GCU hits and got two double plays.

Sacramento State (27-22, 14-8 WAC) overcame 100-degree heat and rode Karnos to a win in just one hour and 59 minutes, the team's quickest game of the year. Grand Canyon (22-25-1, 10-12 WAC), the defending regular season WAC champion, lost its fifth straight game and lost for the seventh time in its last nine home WAC games.

The Hornets charged ahead 2-0 on Floyd’s first home run of the season in just his second start. Andrew McWilliam led off the sixth inning with a double and was driven in with an RBI single by Matt Smith (El Dorado High).


Aggies Sweep Hornets On 7-1 Win in Sacramento

by Editor Rick Cabral

The Aggies of UC Davis (16-26) posted a second straight dominant performance with a 7-1 win to sweep the Sac State Hornets (26-22) in the 2016 Diamond Causeway Classic.

Last week, UC Davis pasted the Hornets 8-2, and the six-run differential was the same today. The Aggies have now won seven of eight since sweeping UOP on May 1.

Another similarity to last week, Davis junior right hander Justin Mullins (2-4) gave the Aggies another great start over the cross-town rivals. He hurled 5.2 innings, allowing one run (earned) while scattering seven hits. He walked none and fanned six batters to lower his earned run average to 4.70.

With no score in the top of the third, Jonny Palsha (0-2) relieved Hornets starter Austin Ragsdale (Bradshaw Christian). Palsha retired the Aggies’ hot-hitting leadoff hitter Tanner Bily, but then hit Alex Aguiar, who stole second base on a curve ball in the dirt. Designated hitter Cameron Olson swung and looked at two curves for 0-2 count, looked at another for a ball, and then singled to right field on the fourth consecutive curve served to him. Right fielder Andrew McWilliam mishandled the ball, which bounced all the way to the wall. Aguiar scored and Olson easily ended up at third for a two-base error.

Catcher Logan Denholm—who was on a five-game hitting streak—knocked in Olson with a sharp single to center field to give UC Davis a 2-0 lead. Spencer Henderson bunted safely to third base, giving the Ags two more base runners, but Palsha pitched out of trouble.

In the bottom of the third, McWilliam made up for his error by slamming his sixth home run over the left field wall—the second straight home game he did it—to cut the lead to 2-1.

In the top of the fifth, UC Davis padded its lead in an inning the Hornets would rather forget. Just so they do not…reliever Matt Gorgolinkski walked the first two hitters he saw, and Coach Reggie Christiansen wasted no time in calling for his fourth pitcher, Austin Root (Oak Ridge High).

Denholm (also of Oak Ridge) lined to left field, and senior outfielder Chris Lewis laid out to make a run-saving catch. With two strikes left-handed hitting Henderson fouled off pitch after pitch, and finally grounded out to drive in the first run of the inning (Davis 3-1). Freshman Caleb Van Blake singled to right field, knocking in the second run. Root then hit the next batter, and after a wild pitch both runners were in scoring position. With two outs, sophomore Justin Allen smoked a grounder that ate up shortstop Trent Goodrich for a run-scoring error, giving the Aggies a 5-1 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, Sac State rallied, knocking two singles off Mullins. Aggies head coach Matt Vaughn went to freshman lefthander Chris Brown, fresh off a win in relief against UC Santa Barbara last Friday. Brown gave up a single to Hornets catcher Gunner Polman to load the bases. But Brown struck out pinch hitter Blake Edmonson to strand three State runners. That was Sacramento’s final threat.

Polman threw out two more base runners today (and should have had a third, but the fielder dropped the throw) for a total of 27 on the season.

The Aggies took a 6-1 lead in the seventh inning on Denholm’s third home run. One inning later, Bily’s sacrifice fly notched the final score, Aggies 7-1.

Clearly the two teams are headed in opposite directions, as UC Davis has shaken off those 10 one-run losses earlier in the season (including three at Arizona State). Sacramento State, meanwhile, has now dropped seven of eight, beginning with a sweep at New Mexico State.

The Hornets play at Grand Canyon this weekend, while the Aggies travel to CSU Northridge.

~ ~ ~

Hornets Announce "Let There Be Light(s)!"

(Sac State Athletics)

Despite today's disappointing news, Hornets Athletics announced that the new ballpark lights will get their first tryout next Tuesday May 17 for the non-conference game against University of the Pacific. Game time for this historic event is at 7:11.

“It's an exciting day for the program,” Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen said. “A lot of years of hard work were put into this before I got here to make this day become a reality. Credit goes to Coach Smith, President Nelsen, and the former players that got us to this point as a program and I'm looking forward to next Tuesday night.” 

Midweek day games have been a challenge to schedule around student-athlete's academic schedules and have precluded many fans from attending those games during typical working hours. The lights will not only alleviate this but will also allow the team to potentially host NCAA Tournament games and prepare the squad for road games away from Sacramento.

All former Hornet baseball players and their families will receive free admission to next Tuesday's first home game under the lights, which will be presented by 7-Eleven. All fans can purchase two tickets to the game for just $10 while the first 500 fans through the gates will receive free commemorative key chain lights.

Gates will open at 5:30 and fans are encouraged to arrive at the ball park early as Christiansen, and former Hornets baseball coaches John Smith and Cal Boyes will ceremonially turn on the lights for the first time at 6:00 p.m. Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen will throw out first pitch.

The Hornets also announced that the first two games of the series against Seattle University, scheduled for May 19 and 20, will be night games as well, with first pitch slated for 7:00 p.m. The regular season finale on Saturday, May 21, will be have a noon start time. 


That squiggly wave of "Ws" in the base path along third is something we've never seen before at John Smith Field: shadows from the ballpark's new light standards.



(Cal Aggies Media Relations)

DAVIS, Calif. --   Three UC Davis pitchers combined to hold No. 13 UC Santa Barbara to six hits on the day, while a quartet of Aggies finished with three hits, helping them clinch their first Big West Conference series win of the season with a 13-3 rout of the No. 13 Gauchos on Sunday afternoon at Dobbins Stadium.

UC Davis improved to 15-26 overall and 4-11 in conference play, winning its first series against UC Santa Barbara since the Aggies swept the Gauchos on the road in 2010 and took a series at home from Santa Barbara for the first time in the program's Division I history.

UCSB fell to 31-12-1 overall and 9-6 in the Big West with Sunday's defeat, led by a 2-for-3 day off the bat of Devon Gradford.

In tying its season high for runs in a conference game this season, UC Davis scored multiple times in five of the eight innings on the day, matching its offensive output in a 13-12 win over UC Riverside back on April 3. After falling behind 2-0 in the second, the Aggies responded with four in their half of the inning, added two more runs in both the fourth and fifth, scored three times in the sixth, and finished off with a pair in the seventh.

Logan Denholm (Oak Ridge High) finished 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and four runs driven in, slugging his second home run of the season (a two-run shot) in the sixth and adding a two-run single in the seventh to cap the scoring. Sophomores Justin Allen and Brad Pluschkell also added three hits and a pair of RBI, while senior Tanner Bily was 3-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored at the top of the order.


UC Davis catcher Logan Denholm had a big day at the plate today in the 13-3 win against UC Santa Barbara. With the victory the Aggies took the series. Photo on file.

~ ~  ~

Utah Valley Takes Series With 3-2 Win Over Sac State

by Editor Rick Cabral

For the first five innings out at the ballyard at Sacramento State, it was a lazy, warm afternoon. And that famous lyric from the Rascals song played in the imaginary background:  Groovin' on a Sunday afternoon.

Sac State (26-21, 13-8 WAC) was ahead 1-0 on a Kody Reynolds RBI single in the fourth inning, starting pitcher Grant Kekuk was in control through five frames, and the mellow mood felt good, as the green and gold hoped to claim this rubber match from Utah Valley (28-19, 13-8 WAC). 

Kekuk retired the first batter in the sixth inning. Then POW the spell was broken when Zac Willis lined a fastball toward the left field line. Outfielder Chris Lewis leaped over the wall, and only when his left arm came down without the ball or his glove, we knew the mood was over. Lewis had to run around and fetch his leather. 

And just as No. 6 repositioned himself in left field, after the next pitch—another fast ball down Broadway—it was POW again, this time Greyson Bogdon hit a deeper drive that bounced off the second floor façade of the parking structure behind the left field fence. Suddenly, the Hornets trailed 2-1. 

Kekuk collected himself and retired the next hitter on a ground out to first base. He got two strikes on Craig Brinkerhof, but the batter struck the next pitch he saw—again a fastball that cut the heart of the plate—and he smoked a mighty blow over the centerfield fence that even outfielder Bronson Grubbs couldn’t catch. 

The Wolverines celebrated their sudden 3-1 surge. 

And at that moment the Rascals song reappeared in our imaginary playlist, only this time the word “groovin’” had a different connotation. It was like the three Utah Valley batters were in a groove when they saw the ball coming off the hand of Kekuk (5-3), who had pitched a marvelous game up until the fireworks (his line score was six hits, three earned runs, no walks and struck out three hitters). 

Tyler Beardsley—who hadn’t pitched all weekend—replaced Kekuk in the seventh and held the Wolverines scoreless for the next three innings, allowing just three hits and dropping his earned run average to 0.96.

In the bottom of the eighth, Andrew McWilliam touched Utah Valley starter Jake Mayer (7-1) for a line shot off the scoreboard to cut the lead 3-2 (his 5th HR of the season). Mayer (7.2, 6 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 2 Ks) soon was replaced with Kyle Valgardson, who worked 1.1 innings of hitless ball to earn his seventh save. 

Hornets catcher Gunner Polman threw out his 25th base runner of the season.

With the victory, the Wolverines have pulled into a tie with Sacramento State for third place in the Western Athletic Conference, behind first place Seattle which was two games in front of New Mexico State to start today. 

Sacramento State hopes to exact revenge on UC Davis, which comes into John Smith Field on Tuesday. The Aggies clipped the Hornets 8-2 on Tuesday. 


Bears Drop Series With 6-4 Loss At Stanford


(Cal Athletics Media Relations)

STANFORD, Calif. – The California Golden Bears (25-18, 11-13 Pac-12) were knocked off by the Stanford Cardinal (23-19, 10-11 Pac-12) 6-4 on Saturday night at Sunken Diamond. The Bears took an early lead, but surrendered five straight runs, including a four-spot in the bottom of the fourth. Cal could not climb out of the hole and though the Bears fought back to score three more runs, they eventually dropped the game and their fifth straight series.

Freshman pitcher Tanner Dodson (Jesuit) started for Cal and in his 3.2 innings pitched allowed the Cardinal six hits and five runs (two earned) in taking the loss. Dodson is 2-4 on the season.

The Bears, behind the fine pitching of Ryan Mason (Placer High) took the first game at Sunken Diamond 4-1. Mason limited Stanford to six hits and one run over six innings. With the victory, Mason (6-2) is now tied for fourth place on Cal's all-time wins list, and moved into 10th place all-time for innings pitched.

On Friday night, Stanford, behind their ace freshman righty Tristan Beck, took Game Two 5-1, as Beck (5-4) struck out eight of the first nine batters he faced, and tossed seven shutout innings against the hard-hitting Bears.

Bears right fielder Brian Celsi (Jesuit) missed the entire series with a broken thumb that happened during the week. Celsi is expected to miss the rest of the regular season. Replacement outfielder freshman Jonah Davis on Thursday notched his first and RBI and 2-for-4 in the Bears only win in the Stanford series.

~ ~ ~

No. 13 UC Santa Barbara Wins 7-3 Over Host UC Davis

By Editor Rick Cabral

UC Santa Barbara (31-11-1, 9-5 Big West) scored four runs in the fourth inning, and starter Joe Record held UC Davis (14-26, 3-11 Big West) to two runs as the Gauchos took the second game of the series 7-3 at Dobbins Stadium.

The loss snapped UC Davis’ five-game winning streak, including yesterday’s 6-2 victory over the Gauchos.

Record, who was slated to pitch on Sunday, had control issues in the first inning. After Alex Aguiar singled with one out, Record fanned Cameron Olson. Then the pitcher plunked freshman Logan Denholm and issued a walk to Caleb Van Blake to load the bases. Freshman Alex Roeser walked, which scored Aguiar to make it Davis 1-0.


UC Davis shortstop Brad Pluschkell appears to make the tag in time but UC Santa Barbara runner Clay Fisher was called safe at second base in the 7-3 win over the Aggies.

Meantime, Spencer Henderson cruised until he hit the fourth inning bump, when he opened the inning with a walk, and allowed a double and three singles as the Gauchos capitalized by scoring four times. Davis’ left fielder Aguiar dove and made a lay-out catch in left center to prevent more damage.

Aguiar made two scintillating catches against Sac State in the midweek game.

In the sixth inning, Davis scored another run on a base-loaded walk to make it 5-2. And two innings later, Van Blake’s sacrifice fly scored Denholm to cut the Gaucho’s lead to 5-3.

UC Santa Barbara’s Austin Bush, who has had a quiet two games against Davis, hit a ninth inning two-run homer, No. 5 on the season. In addition, Michael McAdoo drove in a pair of runs, J.J. Muno collected two doubles, and Ryan Cumberland had a pair of hits and one RBI for the Gauchos.

The winning pitcher Record (5-4) pitched six innings, allowed the Aggies two runs (one earned) walked five and struck out seven to lower his ERA to 3.91 for the year.

Henderson of Davis (1-3) also pitched six innings, allowed eight hits and five runs (four earned). He gave up two walks and struck out three. Reliever Justin Mullins, who earned the win against Sac State on Tuesday, threw 2.2 innings allowing two hits, two earned runs, three walks, and a pair of strikeouts.

UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara are scheduled to meet on Sunday at 1 p.m.

~ ~ ~

(Sac State Media Relations)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Utah Valley senior right handed pitcher Danny Beddes took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and allowed just two singles over eight scoreless innings to lead Utah Valley to a 5-0 win over Sacramento State in the second of a three-game series on Saturday at John Smith Field.

Sacramento State (26-20, 13-7 WAC) lost its first home WAC game of the season after starting 10-0 in home league games. The Hornets were shut out for the first time in WAC play and the first time since March 28 as Utah Valley (27-19, 12-8 WAC) returned the favor after being shut out by Max Karnos and the Hornets, 8-0, on Friday.

Sacramento State starter Sam Long (4-7) allowed four runs in the sixth inning to take the loss.




Josh Adams—Working Hard and Winning in the Big West

By Editor, Rick Cabral 

(Note, this report was prepared prior to Game One which was won by UC Davis yesterday 6-2) 

Blond, blue-eyed Josh Adams is happy to be a Gaucho.  

The 6’2” left-hander plays outfield for the #13 ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, who are in town to play UC Davis.  


Josh Adams of UC Santa Barbara smashed this pitch for a double yesterday in the 6-2 loss to UC Davis. 

His team is one game out of the top spot in the Big West League, and with its Top 10 RPI, almost assured of a regional playoff spot, pending a complete collapse here at the end of the season. 

Adams was steered to the beautiful campus at Santa Barbara principally by its head coach, Andrew Checketts. While in lower division at Pleasant Grove High, Checketts—then the pitching coach at Oregon—recruited Adams. But when Checketts got the head coaching position at Santa Barbara, he lured Adams to join him in building the program. Adams followed. And he’s thrilled he did. 

He told me was going to get good players, and that’s exactly what he got since I’ve been there. It’s been awesome.”

(Click to continue this Spotlight profile.)



Aggies Corral Gauchos 6-2 In Game One at UCD 

By Editor Rick Cabral 

At this time of the collegiate baseball season power-ranked clubs—the Floridas, Vanderbilts and Virginias—begin to check the back-end of their schedules, and peek at the predictions for who will host the Division 1 NCAA Regional Playoffs. 

One of those up-and-coming power teams is #13 UC Santa Barbara, who entered today’s series opener at UC Davis (the league’s last place team) with a 30-10-1 record, one game out of the top spot in the Big West, with their ace Shane Bieber on the mound sporting an 8-2 record and 3.12 earned run average. 

Last year, the Gauchos hosted their first-ever regional, as they climbed onto the top shelf. But Davis came in to today's game on a four-game winning streak, itching for a fight. 


UC Santa Barbara catcher  Dempsey Grover couldn't hold this throw from the shortstop allowing Alex Roeser to score the eventual winning run in Davis' 6-2 win over the Gauchos. Umpire Billy Haze is preparing to signal the runner "safe."

For six innings today at Dobbins Stadium, Bieber looked like an ace, limiting UC Davis to three hits (all singles) and no runs. Meanwhile, his club spotted him a 2-0 lead in the second inning off Aggies starter, lefthander Robert Garcia. But the Gauchos could and probably should have gotten more in the second inning, when they loaded the bases with no outs, but only managed a pair of runs (the only ones they'd get, as it turned out).

From the third inning through the sixth, Bieber and Garcia traded zeros, with the visiting pitcher painting the black and firing his 91-mph fastball like “a pea at the knees” to quote the legendary hurler, Satchell Paige. After he walked one hitter in the sixth, the Gauchos infield turned a double play to end the inning. 

But the boys from Santa Barbara could feel the momentum shifting toward the home sideline, as demonstrated by their dugout exhortations to “C’mon, let’s get goin!” 

In the seventh inning, Aggies skipper Matt Vaughn made two substitutions that paid off big. To start the inning, he replaced Garcia with fellow lefty Chris Brown, who retired the Gauchos in order. 

Meantime, in the home half of the seventh, freshman catcher Logan Denholm rapped a one-out single off Bieber. Left-handed hitter Spencer Henderson knocked the first pitch he saw against the left field wall to plate Denholm and break Bieber’s shutout. After Alex Roseser drew a walk, the Gauchos held a meeting on the mound, as Bieber had passed the 100 pitch threshold, but still looked strong. 

Then Vaughn sent up pinch-hitter Caleb Van Slake. Wasting no time, he lined the first pitch from Bieber down the right field line for a run-scoring double to tie the game 2-2. With Santa Barbara’s infield drawn in to choke off the runner at third base, the strategy seemed to work perfectly when Justin Allen grounded hard to shortstop. But Roeser made a dash for home plate and catcher Dempsey Grover dropped the throw from shortstop Clay Fisher, allowing Roeser to score the go-ahead run. 

Turned out it also was the winning run. 

But in the eighth, sensing time was running out, UC Santa Barbara put the leadoff man on with a walk and he was sacrificed to second base. Then J.J. Muno hit a towering drive. Davis right fielder Tanner Bily snared the pill at the top of the wall, sending a wave of groans along the visitor's sideline. And when Brown fanned Austin Bush to end the rally, you knew it was the Aggies’ day. 

UC Davis (14-25) padded its lead in the bottom of the eighth scoring three runs off Gaucho’s reliever Trevor Bettancourt. And that was the ballgame. 

“Their pitcher (Bieber) was going real good, but in the seventh inning he gave us a couple of opportunities, and fortunately we capitalized,” said Aggies head coach, Matt Vaughn. 

Brown (1-3) earned the victory with two solid innings of relief, following up on Garcia’s strong six innings. The Aggies starter allowed four hits, two earned runs, three walks and had eight strikeouts. Vaughn credited Garcia with keeping his club in the contest, and Brown kept the pedal to the metal. 


For six innings, Shane Bieber dominated UCD, but the Aggies scored 3 runs in the 7th en route to a 6-2 win over UC Santa Barbara.

Over his seven innings, Bieber (8-3) allowed six hits, three earned runs, two walks while striking out seven.

Henderson led the Aggies hitters, going 3-for-4 with two RBI, while Denholm (Oak Ridge High), who sparked the home team’s comeback, had a pair of hits and scored two runs. 

Clay Fisher led the Gauchos with a 3-for-4 afternoon with one RBI while designated hitter Josh Adams (Pleasant Grove High) went 2-for-4 with a double and one run. 

Vaughn was quietly proud of his guys after the game, saying his young team has had a down year, but they were “in” many of those losses. “We’ve got some momentum now, which is a good feeling.” 

Santa Barbara knows the feeling all too well.

~ ~ ~


(Sac State Media Relations)

Sacramento State junior right handed pitcher Max Karnos faced just one batter over the minimum, allowing just three singles in a complete game shutout, and his offense provided more than enough support in an 8-0 win for the Hornets over Utah Valley on Friday to open a three-games series.

Karnos permitted only four base runners on three singles and a walk, and after each of the three singles he allowed he got double play groundouts from the next batter. He struck out four and threw only 94 pitches for his second shutout of the season.

"I got a lot of first pitch strikes and they were pretty aggressive so I was able to let my defense work for me," Karnos said. "My sinker produces a lot of groundballs and I wanted contact and it worked well today."

Sacramento State (26-19, 13-6 WAC) improved to 10-0 in home WAC games this season. The Hornets scored eight runs in support of Karnos with two runs in the fourth inning, two in the sixth inning, and four more in the seventh and ended a four-game winning streak for Utah Valley (26-19, 11-8 WAC).

Freshman Matt Smith (El Dorado High) was 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs, and two runs scored to lead the Hornets. Senior Chris Lewis, hitting behind Smith in the cleanup spot, was 1-for-3 with a double and four RBIs for his second four-RBI game of the season. Senior Trent Goodrich went 1-for-2 with a walk and three runs scored as seven of the nine Hornet starters had hits.


UC Davis 8, Sac State 2 

By Editor Rick Cabral 

Davis, Calif. – The Aggies (13-25) got six strong innings out of starter Justin Mullins (1-4) and the offense scored seven runs by the fourth inning to take the first game of this year’s Diamond Causeway Classic 8-2 on a muggy, warm day at Dobbins Field. 

Sacramento State (23-19) has now lost four in a row (they were swept by New Mexico State last weekend), and UC Davis has won four in a row, having swept the Tigers of UOP last weekend.



UCD pitcher Justin Mullins worked six innings to earn his first victory of the year against Sac State.

UC Davis scored an unearned run in the second inning off Hornets’ midweek starter Tanner Olson (3-4).

In the home half of the third, Brad Pluschkell led off with a single and went to second on Tanner Bily’s walk. Alex Aguiar singled in a run. With runners at second and first, Tanner Olson got left-hander batter Cameron Olson to hit into a 3-6-1 double play. 

But then freshman Logan Denholm (Oak Ridge High) doubled in Bily to make it 3-0. And when Olson walked the next batter, Coach Reggie Christiansen sought Austin Root (Oak Ridge High) from the bullpen, ending Olson’s short outing (2.2 IP, 5ER, 5H). 

Root plunked the next hitter to load the bases. Aggies’ freshman Caleb Van Blake singled in two more runs to give UC Davis a 5-0 lead. 

Riding a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning, Mullins had retired the first nine batters when Bronson Grubbs (Pleasant Grove) broke up the no-hitter with a single. Two outs later, Matt Smith (El Dorado High) also singled, but Mullins preserved the whitewash, stranding the runners. 

In the Aggies’ fourth, Christiansen brought in Friday starter Sam Long for an inning of work, and Davis made him pay. The first hitter Pluschkell worked a full count and then singled off the left-handed Long (Del Campo High). On the very first pitch he saw, Bily blasted a home run over the left field wall to give the Aggies a 7-0 advantage. 

Long bore down and struck out the next four hitters. That's right--four in a row, as the third batter's strike three pitch bounced to the backstop to continue the inning. Long fanned the next man up to record the rare 4 Punchouts in a Frame.  

State battled back, scoring twice in the sixth inning on Josh Egan’s sacrifice fly and Brandon Hunley’s hot smash that was mishandled for an error by Davis’ shortstop, Pluschkell. That made it 7-2 and ended Mullins’ afternoon. 

But UCD answered when Cameron Olson hit a solo smash over the right field wall for his third home run of the year. In the final three innings Aggies relievers allowed just one hit to preserve the 8-2 victory, their first over the Hornets at Dobbins Stadium in six games. 

UC Davis starter Mullins was backed by a solid defense, notably outfielder Alex Aguiar who made two great catches in left field, including a sensational catch leaping high against the fence to rob Trent Goodrich of extra bases in the first inning.

Over his six innings, Mullins allowed seven hits, two runs (one earned), walked none and fanned five. With this impressive outing his earned run average dropped from 5.40 to 4.58. 

Van Blake led all hitters going 3-for-4 with a double and a triple. Pluschkell and Bily each went 2-for-4 with the latter knocking two with his home run. Grubbs and Goodrich both had a pair of hits for the Hornets, who totaled eight for the afternoon. 

These two teams meet again next Tuesday with the Hornets hosting UC Davis at John Smith Field. Game time is 3 p.m.




UCD coeds enjoying the game against Sac State.


Hornets Lose Series Finale 13-6--Swept By New Mexico State 

(Sac State Media Relations with an editorial assist) 

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State used five home runs for a 13-6 victory over Sacramento State on Sunday in Las Cruces.  

New Mexico State (25-18, 13-5 WAC) moved into sole possession of second place in the WAC with the win. Sacramento State (25-18, 12-6 WAC) drops to a share of third place in the conference.  

The Hornets outhit the Aggies 15-10 on Sunday and had scoring opportunities in each of the last eighth innings of the game, generating 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position in the game. Senior Chris Lewis hit his fourth home run of the season while Dan Deely, Gunner Pollman and Trent Goodrich all had three-hit games, with the latter driving in two runs. 

Sacramento State took the early lead again on Sunday as Lewis launched a solo home run in the second inning. New Mexico State came back with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the third but the Hornets drew even when Goodrich drove in Deely with a single in the fourth. 

The Hornets jumped to a 5-2 lead with three runs in the top of the fifth. Lewis led off with a single before sophomore Andrew McWilliam drove him in with an RBI triple. McWilliam would score on a sacrifice fly from Pollman, and Deely drove in the third run of the inning. 

The Aggies answered immediately with three runs in the bottom of the third to tie it 5-5, and in the home half of the sixth inning NMSU opened things up with five runs on four hits, with three of the four hits home runs. New Mexico State finished the scoring with three runs in the eighth inning on a 3-run homer by Daniel Johnson, his second home run of the game.   

Johnson homered in each game of the series, and over the three games he hit 10-for-15 (.667) with four home runs, 13 RBIs, seven runs scored, and a stolen base. Senior Grant Kukuk was handed just his second loss of the year for the Hornets.  

Sac State hit a solid .290 for the series, as Pollman hit .500 (5-for-10) and Deely hit .455 (5-for-11). But the slugging Aggies built on their WAC-leading scoring average and swept the Capital City collegians. 

The Hornets conclude a stretch of eight of nine games on the road with the first of two meetings with Causeway rival UC Davis. The foes will meet at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in Davis.  

~ ~ ~

Washington Takes Series with 7-4 Win On Sunday in Berkeley

(Cal Media Relations with an editorial assist)

BERKELEY, Calif. — California lost the rubber match of a three-game series to Washington 7-4 at Evans Diamond Sunday.

The Golden Bears’ (24-16, 10-11) scored three runs in the third inning when catcher Brett Cumberland launched a three-run home run. It was his Pac-12 Conference leading 12th home run on the season.

The Huskies’ (25-15, 11-7) scored three runs off Cal’s starting pitcher Matt Ladrech (3-3) who went 3.0 innings before being replaced by Joey Matulovich who got the loss (0-1). Following Cumberland’s home run in the bottom half of the third, which tied the game, Washington retook the lead in the top of the fourth with a RBI single.

Cal had the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the ninth but could only score once, as Robbie Tenerowicz lined out, Cumberland struck out (for the third time in the game for just the third time this year), and Mitchell Kranson grounded out to end Cal's chances of a comeback against the Huskies closer and Pac-12 saves leader, Troy Rallings.

Aaron Knapp (Granite Bay High) and Brian Celsi (Jesuit) both had one hit in three at bats.



New Mexico State Takes Game Two 6-2 Over Sac State

By Editor Rick Cabral

Las Cruces, New Mexico—The Aggies of New Mexico State (24-18, 12-5 WAC) continued shelling Sacramento State (25-17, 12-5 WAC) pitching today, claiming Game Two 6-2, and assuring a series win.

Coming into this important series Hornets head coach Reggie Christiansen knew that New Mexico State was the highest scoring team in the conference, averaging nearly six runs a game, with a team batting average of .282, good for second place in the WAC.

Yesterday, the Ags pounded Hornets starter Sam Long (4-6) and two relievers to the tune of 14 runs on 18 hits (Long allowed nine earned runs on 11 hits). Today, the Aggies continued the drumbeat off starter Max Karnos, who permitted six runs (five earned), 13 hits (five doubles and two home runs) in six innings of work. That, despite a brilliant, Houdini-esque defensive play by the pitcher.

With the victory, the Aggies climb into a shared second-place spot with the Hornets.

The Hornets opened the scoring in the first inning when Bronson Grubbs greeted New Mexico State freshman pitcher Kyle Bradish with a single. Chris Lewis’ fly ball down the right field line was caught. Grubbs tagged and outfielder Dan Hetzel’s throw to second base scooted into left field, and Grubbs scrambled to third base. He was knocked in by Andrew McWilliam’s RBI single. Dan Smith (El Dorado High) followed with a single, but the two runners were stranded, and Sac State had to be satisfied with a 1-o lead.

In the second inning New Mexico State’s leadoff hitter Hetzel singled up the middle. KJ Hatch hit a chopper up the middle and Karnos the Magnificent—with his back to the backstop—kicked the ball up to his glove as if he was playing a game of hacky sack to start a perfectly completed 1-6-3 double play. Good thing he did, too, as the next two hitters singled. But Karnos retired the fifth batter in the inning to stop the rally.

The Aggies scored three runs off Karnos in the third inning on a two-run homer by Daniel “Call Me the Hitman” Johnson, followed by a RBI single by Hetzel.

Vinny Esposito (Granite Bay High) launched an inside fast ball over the left field wall in the fourth inning to cut the Aggies’ lead to 3-2. It was the sophomore’s second long ball of the season.

In the home half of the fourth inning Sac State shortstop Trent Goodrich couldn’t field Brent Sukari’s chopper and the runner hustled to second base (it was ruled a single and E-6 error). Karnos got two quick strikes on Johnson, but the left-handed hitter golfed a low inside pitch for a double and his third hit of the game. That scored Sukari, giving the Aggies a 4-2 lead.

In the sixth inning, New Mexico State struck again off Karnos, who allowed a lead0ff home run to Mason Fishback, and later an RBI double by his nemesis Johnson.

Christiansen replaced Kontos in the seventh inning with Jonny Palsha, who spun two shutdown innings. He even retired Johnson on a groundout in the eighth, spoiling the hitter’s chance to hit for the cycle. Johnson went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run, four runs batted in for a total of 10 bases.

Four other Aggies hitters went 2-for-4 today. The Hornets managed eight hits total, two by Smith and two by the catcher, Gunner Pollman.

Besides Esposito’s round tripper, and Karnos’ magnificent play, there was one other bright spot for the Hornets: Pollman continued living up to his given name, throwing out another attempted base stealer today for his WAC-leading 23rd caught stealing.

The two teams conclude the series tomorrow afternoon.

~ ~ ~

Tenerowicz Drove in 4 and Dodson Tossed Seven Strong In 7-1 Win

(Cal Athletics Media Relations)

BERKELEY, Calif. – The California Golden Bears (24-15, 10-10 Pac-12) picked up a big 7-1 win to even the series with the Washington Huskies (24-15, 10-7 Pac-12) on Saturday night at Evans Diamond.

Junior second baseman Robbie Tenerowicz was 2-for-3 with four RBI on the night, and freshman righty Tanner Dodson (2-3) of Jesuit High of was excellent in his seven innings, scattering seven hits, allowing just one run and striking out four Huskies. Senior third baseman Mitchell Kranson pitched in with a big two-run single in a four-run seventh, giving the Bears an opportunity to win the series on Sunday.


Huskies Take Game One from Bears 4-2 in Berkeley

by Editor Rick Cabral

Berkeley, Calif -- Washington's John Naff snapped a 2-2 tie in the top of the eighth inning when he smoked Erik Martinez' fastball over the centerfield fence with two outs, sending the Huskies to a 4-2 Game One win on a chilly night in Berkeley.

With the win, Washington (24-14, 10-6 Pac-12) retains a share of first place in the Pac-12. Cal (23-15, 9-10 Pac-12) meanwhile, with pitcher Ryan Mason back on the hill, has now dropped eight of its last nine conference contests.

One ray of sunshine for the Bears on a windy, chilly night by the Bay was designated hitter Devin Pearson, who went 2-for-4, including his solo shot over the left field in the seventh inning that tied the game 2-2.


Ryan Mason returned to the mound after missing a start last weekend. Here the Auburn native delivers a pitch to Washington batter KJ Brady in the first inning.

Pearson, who came into the game with the lowest batting average of the Bears starters at .227, doubled in the second inning to start a Cal rally that resulted in the game’s first score.

They could have gotten more in that frame, but the first of California’s physical and mental mistakes surfaced. With runners at the corners, and Robbie Tenerowicz--the Bears' hottest hitter of late--at the plate Brian Celsi (Jesuit) was caught napping off first base for the third out.

Mason, the 6’5” right-hander from Placer High, missed a start last weekend against the red-hot Arizona Wildcats. Tonight, he went 5.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and two walks. He had three strikeouts on 73 total pitches (49 for strikes).

Washington scored solo runs off Mason (5-2) in the fifth and sixth innings to tie and take the lead respectively.

In the fifth with none out, Huskies’ Levi Jordan dropped a showcase bunt down the third base line, a surprise with two strikes. Next hitter AJ Graffanino made several attempts to bunt and during the at bat, Jordan took second base on a wild pitch; Mason’s second of the night. With two outs, Jack Meggs singled up the middle, scoring Jordan to tie the game at 1-1.

In the Huskies sixth, with one out MJ Hubbs singled through the left side. During the next at bat, he also took second base courtesy of a pitch in the dirt, this time a passed ball on Bears catcher, Brett Cumberland. Naff singled to right field and Celsi came up firing. Cumberland leaped in the air, came down with the ball and applied the tag on Hubbs. But the runner knocked the ball from the catcher's glove as he slid across the plate, giving Washington a 2-1 advantage.

Meantime, Washington starting pitcher Noah Bremer (4-3) from Berkeley was holding the potent Bears offense in check. But in the sixth, the Bears responded. After Cumberland popped up, Mitchell Kranson doubled to right center, a ball that may have hit the track stadium wall if not for the strong westerly winds. That was it for the sophomore Bremer, who went 5.1 innings, giving up the one earned run on five hits and two walks.

Reliever right hander Will Ballowe hit Nick Halamandaris, and Cal sensed they had something going. Then pinch hitter Jeffrey Mitchell Junior hit into a 6-4-3 double play, nicely turned by the Huskies shortstop Graffanino, who ranged to his right, leaped to snag the high hopper and while in mid-air flipped to second, where the ball was fired to first in time. The Washington fans, in force tonight, cheered the sterling defensive play.

Washington sent Alex Nesbitt (2-1) to pitch the seventh, and although he allowed Pearson's game-tying home run, he was the victor tonight. Martinez (3-2), who has been the long reliever for the Bears in recent games, took the loss despite giving up just one earned run on two hits. He looked strong, fanning five during his nearly three innings of work.

In the Bears’ eighth inning, Washington sent to the mound Troy Rallings, the Pac-12 saves leader. He walked Cumberland, giving Cal something to cheer. Sean Peters pinch ran for the catcher. Rallings promptly struck out the next two Berkeley batters.

When the reliever came out in the ninth, the score was then 4-2 and Rallings retired the side, icing the Washington win, while earning his 13th save.

The Huskies outhit the Bears 10-7, while the home team made two errors (a wild throw by Halamandaris on a double-play attempt, and an error by shortstop by Preston Grand Pre (his 12th), who knocked in Cal’s first run in the second inning.

Following the game, head coach David Esquer was heard  tongue lashing his veteran squad, reminding them of this missed opportunity to take a game from the conference co-leader (Huskies share the top spot with Utah).

After the game, Mason summed the loss perfectly: “They played a clean slate out there and we didn’t. That was the difference.” The senior pitcher said he felt strong and was proud of keeping the ball low through most of his outing. Mason said he could have gone deeper in the game if Cal had needed him.

Esquer added “Again, mistakes are the difference. And we can feel sorry for ourselves or just not make mistakes.” He laughed, but you could hear him crying as well, as Cal’s chances at a return to regional playoff action could be in jeopardy if they don't rebound soon.

Cumberland, who still leads the conference in several offensive categories, has cooled off of late, going 3-for-15 with one double, no homers and no RBI in his last five games. Leadoff hitter Aaron Knapp (Granite Bay) had another tough game, going 0-4 as his average dropped to .241. He continues to sparkle on defense in center field.

The two teams meet again Saturday night at 6 p.m., followed by an afternoon contest on Sunday. Saturday the Bears will send out freshman pitcher Tanner Dodson of Jesuit.



It was Krazy Kids night at the ballyard, as Cal welcomed Little Leaguers
(and others with nothing else on their minds but just getting crazy) from the East Bay.

~ ~ ~


(Sac State Media Relations)

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State used a six-run third inning to open up a big early lead and went on to complete a 14-4 win in eight innings in the opener of a three-game series against Sacramento State on Friday night in Las Cruces.

Sacramento State (25-16, 12-4 WAC) saw its nine game winning streak against the Aggies come to an end, losing to the team for the first time since 2013. New Mexico State (23-18, 11-5 WAC) entered the game as the highest scoring team in the WAC and showed it on Friday.

The Aggies totaled 14 runs on 18 hits, both season highs against the Hornets in WAC play. The Hornets put up four runs on eight hits, with freshman Matt Smith and junior Brandon Hunley both going 2-for-4. Hunley hit a solo home run in the second inning while Smith drove in two of the four Hornet runs.


Nogosek Saves Oregon’s 7-6 Victory Over OSU 

By Editor Rick Cabral 

Stephen Nogosek (Woodcreek High) earned his 10th save of the season Wednesday night as Oregon (18-16) held on to defeat No. 10 Oregon State (26-11) 7-6 at PK Park in Eugene. 

With the win, the Ducks snap a four-game losing streak which began with their midweek loss to the Beavers, followed by a weekend sweep at UCLA. 

The Ducks blew open the contest by scoring seven runs in the second inning. Oregon State chipped away at the deficit by scoring three runs in the third inning and two more in the fifth. 



Stephen Nogosek
Courtesy Oregon State Athletics

When Nogosek took the mound in the ninth the Ducks clung to a two-run lead. The junior struck out the first hitter, then allowed a walk which ignited the Beavers comeback hopes. Christian Donohue rifled a single to right field, but Ducks’ right fielder Jakob Goldfarb allowed the ball to stream through his legs and roll to the fence, allowing the runner to score and narrow the margin to 7-6. Donohue, standing at third with one out, represented the tying run. 

Pac-12 television announcer Ted Robinson was already talking about the prospect of “free baseball” (i.e. extra innings) when Nick Madrigal (Elk Grove High) stepped to the plate. Madrigal, who was 2-for-4 on the night and flashing a .358 average entering the contest, battled Nogosek in a 2013 high school playoff classic en route to the Herd’s section crown.

After a long at-bat, Nogosek got Madrigal to pop-up to first base, stranding the runner. Then the right-hander struck out Oregon State catcher Logan Ice for the third out to preserve the win. 

With that performance Nogosek notched his 10th save and lowered his earned run average to 1.11. His ERA would place him among the Top 10 rankings in Division 1, except his 24.1 innings do not meet the minimum threshold.

~ ~ ~ 


(Sac State Media Relations)

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Trailing 4-2 with two out in the ninth inning freshman Matt Smith (El Dorado High) delivered a 2-run single to tie the score, and with two out in the bottom of the 11th junior Gunner Pollman delivered an RBI single to give Sacramento State a 5-4 win over Fresno State on Wednesday night at Raley Field.

The game started out as a pitcher's duel and was scoreless into the seventh inning, with junior Tanner Olson throwing six scoreless innings for the Hornets and allowing just four hits and no walks.

Sacramento State (25-15) improved to 5-0 in extra-inning games this season with its third walk-off victory of the year. The Hornets trailed Fresno State (26-16) 4-1 going to the bottom of the eighth inning but scored one run in the eighth, two in the ninth, and the game winner in the 11th inning.

The Hornets currently are tied for first place in the Western Athletic Conference with Seattle University at 12-3. Sacramento State has four more conference series remaining, including this weekend's visit to third-place New Mexico State (Saturday's game is televised--check your listings). That will be followed by a home series vs. Utah Valley (May 6), Grand Canyon (May 13, away) and final series of the season against rival Seattle (May 19, home).

Scattered in between are mid-week games against U.C. Davis (May 3, away and May 10, home) and UOP (May 17, home).



(Sac State Media Relations)

EDINBURG, Texas – After UT Rio Grande Valley was able to tie the game with a run in the bottom of the 13th the Hornets scored twice in the top of the 15th and were able to complete a 5-3 win in the resumption of Saturday's suspended game on Sunday afternoon. 

On Saturday night Sacramento State (24-15, 12-3 WAC) held a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 13th but the Vaqueros loaded the bases with none out when the rain started to fall and the game was suspended. The first UT Rio Grande Valley (18-18, 7-5 WAC) batter upon resumption, junior Austin Oakes, singled up the middle to bring in the tying run.

With the potential winning run on third and nobody out, Hornet junior Tanner Olson got a fielder's choice groundball to third, an infield popup, and a fly out to right field to send the game to the 14th inning.

Both teams went down in order in the 14th, but in the 15th inning pitcher Sam Long, who had entered the game as the right fielder in the 13th inning and made three catches, led off with a single to left field for his first career hit. Senior Trent Goodrich followed with a sacrifice bunt but the UTRGV third baseman's throw to first sailed down the right field line and Long scored with Goodrich getting all the way to third base.

Junior Gunner Pollman followed with a sharp single to left to bring in Goodrich. In the bottom of the 15th UTRGV got a two-out double but Olson got the final out to give the Hornets the win as Sacramento State improved to 4-0 this season in extra-inning games and won its second suspended game of the year.

The game was tied for the longest conference game in WAC history, matching a 15-inning win the Hornets had over Seattle U in 2014. It was tied for the second longest game in Hornet program history falling shy of the team's 18-inning marathon at Iowa last year.

When the game started on Saturday the Hornets took an early lead with two runs in the second inning. Goodrich led off the inning with a bunt single, senior Jose Egan drew a walk, and junior Brandon Hunley reached on an infield single to load the bases. Sophomore Dan Deely followed with a 2-run single to put the Hornets ahead.

Both teams created plenty of scoring chances in the ensuing innings but no more runs were scored until the 13th. Both teams had a runner thrown out at the plate in extra innings and the Hornets loaded the bases in both the 11th and 12th innings.

The Hornets were able to take the lead in the top of the 13th when Goodrich drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a passed ball, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on an RBI single up the middle by sophomore Vinny Esposito.

UTRGV opened the bottom of the 13th with a walk and Loncar followed with a single to right that moved the potential tying run to third. Correy Davis drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases, at which point the umpires called for the field to be covered.

Senior Grant Kukuk had another strong start for the Hornets, allowing just two runs on seven hits with two strikeouts in six innings. After a scoreless inning from junior Chad Perry senior closer Tyler Beardsley came on and ended up pitching five innings, allowing four hits and no runs while throwing 72 pitches. Olson earned the win allowing just two hits in three innings of work

UT Rio Grande Valley sophomore starter Robert Quinonez went 10 innings, allowing just two runs on five hits with 10 strikeouts throwing an astounding 136 pitches. Reliever George Lamb took the loss for the Vaqueros as he allowed the run in the 13th as well as the winning run in the 15th.

Grubbs had his first career three-hit game, going 3-for-6, while Deely was 3-for-7 with 2 RBIs and Goodrich scored three of the five Hornet runs. UTRGV had a 14-13 edge in hits and stranded 15 base runners while the Hornets left 13. The total game time was four hours and 26 minutes.

Sacramento State hosts Fresno State at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Raley Field.


(Sac State Media Relations)

EDINBURG, Texas – On a day with nearly seven hours of baseball played, Sacramento State scored a season-high 12 runs in a 12-3 win over UT Rio Grande Valley in the first game and the Hornets are leading 3-2 in the bottom of the 13th when play was suspended due to rain. Sunday's resumption time will not be decided until the field is inspected in the morning.

The teams played a doubleheader on Saturday as Sunday's forecast showed rain, but the showers showed up early and forced play to be halted Saturday night. Sacramento State (23-15, 11-3 WAC) holds a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 13th but UTRGV (18-17, 7-4 WAC) loaded the bases with none out when the game was called for the night.

Senior Chris Lewis and Andrew McWilliam both posted multiple hits in the first game and each drove in three runs. Vinny Esposito (Granite Bay High) had three hits with one RBI in the opening contest.

The Hornets lost the first game on Friday 3-2. So, if the suspended game is resumed today, it literally will act as the "rubber match" between these two conference foes.


Behind Cumberland Blues, Cal Downs Stanford 5-2

by Editor Rick Cabral

Brett Cumberland drove in three runs tonight at Evans Diamond to lead No. 18 Cal (22-11) to a 5-2 non-conference win over Stanford (19-12) at Evans Diamond in Berkeley.

Freshman Tanner Dodson (Jesuit) closed the game with a perfect ninth inning for his third save of the season.

In the third inning, Cumberland homered from the right side against Stanford starter John Hochstatter to give Cal a 1-0 lead. It was Cumberland's conference-leading 11th home run. One out later, first baseman Nick Halamandaris hit a long home run (his third) that nearly cleared the track stadium wall in right field to make it 2-0 Cal.

Stanford chiseled away and scored single runs in the fifth and sixth inning to tie the game at 2-2.

In the Bears sixth frame, Aaron Knapp (Granite Bay) tripled and later scored on Brian Celsi's (Jesuit) sacrifice fly to take the lead 3-2. Two batters later, with two Bears on base, Cumberland--batting from the left side--drilled a double down the right field line to give Cal a 5-2 lead.

Erik Martinez (3-1), who quelled the Cardinal rally in the sixth, picked up the win with 1.2 innings of hitless ball. He struck out two and walked one.

Martinez, who had been Cal's closer until last week, appears to have lost the job to Dodson, who had been used as a Tuesday night starter in recent weeks.


Tigers Come Back to Beat Hornets 6-3 

by Editor Rick Cabral

University of the Pacific (16-18) broke open a tie game by scoring three runs in the seventh inning, defeating Sacramento State (22-14) by a score of 6-3 at Klein Family Field in Stockton. 

Sacramento State saw its four-game winning streak come to an end while Pacific picked up its sixth straight win.

The Tigers touched reliever Jonny Palsha (0-1) for three runs in the seventh inning with Nate Verlin knocking in one run and Lucas Halstead two more. 

That, after Sacramento State scored three earned runs in the first two innings off starter Taylor Johnson. 



Chris Lewis continued his hot steak with a leadoff double to start the game.

In the first inning, leadoff hitter Chris Lewis—the current WAC Player of the Week—doubled off the left field fence, moved to third on Bronson Grubbs’ blooper over first base, and scored on Matt Smith’s sacrifice fly. Kody Reynolds followed with a hot smash to give the Hornets runners at second and first base. 

But Johnson got Trent Goodridge to ground into a double play to end a promising inning. 

In State’s second frame, Brandon Hunley reached on an infield error with one out and took second on a balk. Dan Deely doubled home Hunley, and then scored on Goodrich’s RBI single. 

Johnson bore down and struck out the hot-hitting Lewis, and got Grubbs to end the rally on a pop up. At that time Sacramento State led 3-0, but from then on the Hornets’ bats went cold, while the Tigers heated up. 

Pacific scored solo runs in the second, fifth and sixth innings. 

In the second Halstead knocked in Verlin to make it 3-1. In the fifth, Joey Mejia reached first on a throwing error by Deely, the third baseman. Jimmy Boras (Jesuit) singled and Mejia took third base. 

With Dylan Robertson at bat, Tigers skipper Mike Neu put on a double-steal play. Hornets catcher Gunner Pollman gunned down Boras at second base, but Hunley’s return throw was high and late, as Mejia slid under Pollman’s swipe tag for the Tigers’ second run. 

The caught-stealing was Gunner's 19th of the season, leading all WAC catchers.

Hornets starter Tanner Olson allowed three (two earned) runs over 5.1 innings in the no-decision.

In the Tigers’ sixth—after Johnson retired Sacramento in order—Olson allowed back-to-back singles to UOP hitters, Danny Mayer and Gio Brusa (St. Mary’s of Stockton). With Mayer on third, Olson struck out the next hitter, and had an 0-2 count on Verlin, who then knocked in Mayer with a fielder’s choice to tie the game 3-3. 

To start the seventh inning, Neu sent to the mound the most euphonious-sounding pitcher on the West Coast: Fineas Del Monta-Smith. The freshman right-hander (4-2) allowed just one hit, but whitewashed the Hornets in his one inning to earn the victory. UOP broke the deadlock and scored those three runs in the home half of the frame. 

Vince Arobio pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first save of the year. 

UOP had 13 hits in the game. Halstead was the Tigers’ leading batter (3-for-4 with 3 RBI), and Brusa, who had a terrific weekend series against Portland, raised his average to .341 with two more safeties. 

State, which had seven hits, was led by Deely who went 2-for-3. 

The Hornets get another shot at UOP when they host the Tigers on May 17. Meantime, Reggie Christiansen’s squad goes on the road for a series against WAC member University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. 


After 5+ innings, Hornets' starter Tanner Olson
exited with the game tied 3-3.

Pac-12 Announced All-Century Baseball Team

(Pac-12 Media Relations)
SAN FRANCISCO –  A 36-member blue ribbon panel selected the Pac-12 All-Century Baseball Team, it was announced last night on the Pac-12 Network’s ‘Sports Report.’   The panel cast ballots for 20 infielders/outfielders, 10 pitchers as well as Pitcher, Player and Coach of the Century.

USC’s  Mark Prior was named Pitcher of the Century, Washington State’s John G. Olerud earned Player of the Century honors and USC’s legendary manager Raoul “Rod” Dedeaux was selected as the Coach of the Century.

Arizona State led all schools with seven members, followed by USC and UCLA with six, Stanford with four and Oregon State and Arizona with two. Cal, Washington and Washington State each had one player selected. In all, eight decades are represented – 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s.

The sole local player to be tabbed to the Pac-12 All-Century Team was Dustin Pedroia of Woodland. Pedroia starred at shortstop for Arizona State.


Mark Prior pitching for Stanford at Cal's Evans Diamond in 2013.
Photo by Rick Cabral.

Prior was named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Century after establishing himself as one of the most dominating pitchers in college baseball history. The hard throwing right-hander won 25 games and averaged 11.5 strikeouts with just 2.1 walks per nine innings in his Trojan career. In 2001, he was only the second collegian ever to sweep every National Player of the Year award and was the first Trojan to win the Golden Spikes Award while going 15-1 with a 1.69 ERA and notching a Pac-10 record 202 strikeouts with just 18 walks. He helped USC to College World Series trips both of his seasons. The Chicago Cubs made him the No. 2 overall pick of the 2001 MLB Draft and he pitched for them for five seasons (2002-06), including being named to the 2003 All-Star team. He then spent time in the minors before the toll of various arm and shoulder injuries ended his career in 2013.

Olerud earned Pac-12 Player of the Year honors after re-writing the WSU record books as both a pitcher and first baseman. In 1988, he became the only pitcher in NCAA history to win 15 games and hit 20 home runs as he was 15-0 and hit 23 that year. He was named College Athlete of the Year by Baseball America. He still holds numerous WSU records, including career batting average at .434 and single season batting average at .464. On the mound, Olerud was 26-4 and posted a 3.17 ERA while throwing 241.1 innings over his three seasons. During his career he set two Pac-10 records and 10 Pac-10 North marks. Prior to his senior season, Olerud signed a contract with Toronto and went directly to the Major Leagues. In 1993, he became the first Blue Jay to win a batting title, hitting .363, and became just the ninth MLB player since 1900 to collect 200 hits and walk 100 times. Olerud played for Toronto, the New York Mets and Yankees, Seattle and Boston during his 17-year career. He is a member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame and the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, given annually by the College Baseball Hall of Fame, was named in his honor.

Dedeaux was selected as Coach of the Century after ending his career as the winningest baseball coach in NCAA Division I-A history with a 1,332-571-11 (.669) record over 45 years (1942-86). 
To read the complete roster, visit the Pac-12 Baseball page.



Michael Conforto appeared in Sacramento for two games against Sacramento State in 2014. This one was at Raley Field. Nick Madrigal, then a junior for Elk Grove High, already was sporting his OSU cap. He is seen seated behind the visitor's dugout. Madrigal is now a freshman infielder for the Beavers.
Photo by Rick Cabral.



(Sac State Media Relations)

DENVER - Sacramento State senior outfielder Chris Lewis was named the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Hitter of the Week, the league announced Monday.    

Lewis was 11-for-17 (.647) with 8 RBIs and 5 runs scored over the week. He had multiple hits in each of the four games, including a trio of three-hit games.

He drove in all four Sacramento State runs in Sunday's 4-1 win over Chicago State, had three RBIs on Tuesday at Nevada, and scored three times on Saturday.

The award is the first for the Hornets' offense this season. Sacramento State also has one WAC Pitcher of the Week honor this year as junior Sam Long earned that accolade on March 28.


by Editor Rick Cabral

Hornets Score 10, Shut Out Cougars Behind "Karnos the Magnificent"

Max Karnos threw a three-hit shutout and was supported by a thumping offense as Sacramento State (21-13) throttled Chicago State (7-27) 10-0 in an eight-inning mercy game.



Max Karnos Tossed a Shutout

The Hornets played airtight defense behind Karnos (3-2), notching four infield double plays and nailing an attempted steal for the second straight day. 

Then there was the Hornets offense, which had a season-high 16 hits, including three home runs. 

Sacramento came out of the gate blasting when Chris Lewis and Trent Goodrich hit back-to-back doubles off Cougars starter Justin Wyatt (1-8), resulting in the Hornets’ first run. 

Beginning with the fourth inning, the home team scored at least one run every frame, including three runs in the seventh when Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) knocked in Kody Reynolds with a two-run homer, and the team scored again on a bases-loaded walk.  


McWilliam Watches His First Home Run

Andrew McWilliam hit solo home runs in the fourth and eighth innings, the latter making it 10-0, which ended the game due to the 10-run mercy ruling. 

Chicago State opened the game with an infield hit off the pitcher. Two batters later, Karnos induced a double play. In the second, Karnos walked two batters with one out, but Julian Russell grounded to Goodrich at shortstop, who stepped on the bag and threw out the runner at first for another double play. 

In the fifth, Russell walked. With two outs he attempted to steal second base, but catcher Gunner Pollman—for the second straight game—caught the runner with a perfect throw to end the inning. 


Gunner Pollman Maneuvers Around No. 5 Malik Carpenter To
Throw Out a Runner At Second Base.

Leading the Hornets hitters was Hunley and Lewis, who both went 3-for-4. Five others had a pair of safeties, as Sacramento State mauled Chicago State pitchers, who came into the series with a 6.62 earned run average. 

According to Andrew Tomsky, the Hornets media guru, the home-towners went 5-for-10 in the game with two outs, and had a season-high 27 total bases. With his two round-trippers, McWilliam had the team's first multi-homer game of the year and just the 73rd in the program's Div. I era.

Sacramento, which is now 9-2 in Western Athletic Conference play—will go for the sweep tomorrow. With the loss, the Cougars fell to 1-10 in conference action. 

~ ~ ~

Celsi and Knapp Lead Cal to 8-4 11 Inning Win Over Sun Devils 

Brian Celsi’s 11th inning home run gave Cal a 5-4 lead, and  No. 15 Golden Bears (21-10, 9-5 Pac-12) scored three more times to win 8-4 and even the series at Arizona State.

Celsi (Jesuit), who missed several games due to an injury sustained when jumped over the right field fence to prevent a home run at Oregon, had a big day against the Sun Devils. Batting in the ninth position, he went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, a triple and one RBI. 

Centerfielder Aaron Knapp (Granite Bay High) went 4-for-6 with two RBI. Knapp, a junior, also had a triple. 

Tanner Dodson (Jesuit) earned his second save by pitching a shutout 11th inning for California.


Hornets Hold Off Chicago State 5-4

By Editor Rick Cabral

Southpaws Jake Perkins of Chicago State and Sam Long of Sacramento State locked into a pitcher’s duel for five innings, but the Hornets rebounded and held on to win 5-4 in the first of a three-game series at John Smith Field.

Both pitchers were superb through three innings, each allowing only one hit. Perkins appeared more dominant, blowing away Hornets’ hitters with 90-mile-per-hour fastballs. He fanned four during that span.

Sacramento State’s Dan Dealy placed a perfect bunt down the third base line for the Hornets first hit in the third inning.

In the top of the fourth, Chicago State bunched four straight singles to take a 2-0 lead, courtesy of runs batted in by Sanford Hunt and Julian Russell. The way this club came out raking, you couldn't tell Long Chicago State was the worst hitting lineup in all of NCAA Division 1, with a .207 team average.

Perkins, meanwhile, was stingy and didn’t allow the Hornets a run until the bottom of the fifth. Junior Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) launched a fly ball to the right field foul poll for a double. Hunley scored on Bronson Grubbs’ RBI single through the left side to cut the deficit to 2-1.

By the Hornets’ sixth, Perkins (2-5) was beginning to miss high and low, and Sacramento State made him pay.

Senior Chris Lewis led off with a single. Then Perkins walked Trent Goodrich. The runners advanced on a wild pitch. Freshman Matt Smith (El Dorado High) lofted a sacrifice fly down the right field line that scored Lewis with the tying run and moved Goodrich to third base.

Andrew McWilliam drilled a single through the left side, plating Goodrich, and the Hornets took the lead 3-2. Kody Reynolds then hit what appeared to be a double-play ball to shortstop, but McWilliam was safe as the umpire ruled the Cougars’ second baseman pulled his foot off the bag. In actuality, it looked like the runner was out courtesy of the “old neighborhood play.” But that ruling continued the rally and the Hornets capitalized.

Junior Gunner Pollman lined a double down the left field line, scoring McWilliam which gave Sacramento State a 4-2 lead.

Jonny Palsha came in to relieve for Long (4-5), who allowed six hits and two earned runs in his six innings to claim the victory. Palsha allowed one walk while shutting out the Cougars in his frame.

Meantime, Sacramento State added an insurance run in the seventh inning against Perkins’ brother, Josh, a right-handed pitcher. He issued a lead-off walk to Dealy, who took second base on a passed ball. When Dealy attempted to steal third with two outs, it appeared he’d be caught red-handed. But Cougars’ catcher Andy Gertonson’s throw sailed into left field, and Dealy scampered home with the Hornets fifth run.

Good thing, too, as Chicago State scored two runs in the top of the eighth off reliever Chad Perry to make it 5-4. The big play in that frame was a sacrifice bunt by Russell who appeared to beat Perry’s throw to first base, but was called out for the second out of the inning.

Hornets' head coach Reggie Christiansen brought in closer Tyler Beardsley, who got the next hitter to ground out, stranding the Cougars potential tying run on second base.

In the top of the ninth Beardsley allowed a one-out single to Cody Grosse. Chicago State’s next hitter attempted a sacrifice bunt and flew out to first base. And on the next pitch Grosse was thrown out trying to steal second base by Hornets’ catcher Gunner Pollman, notching his 17th picked runner of the year. Beardsley earned his seventh save of the season.

Although the Cougars outhit the Hornets (9-8), the visitors managed only singles, while the home team had a pair of doubles.

With the win, Sacramento State (20-13, 8-2 WAC) remains undefeated (7-0) at home in conference play.

The Hornets will host Chicago State (7-26, 1-9 WAC) tomorrow afternoon in a 1 o’clock start.


Fractal Nine

A Commentary by Editor Rick Cabral 

You know the old adage “You’ll see something new at the ballpark every day.” While watching the Utah at BYU game on television yesterday, I saw something I would term “inexplicable” and it wasn’t a 1-2-3 triple play. 

Host BYU (which is hot right now with a .336 team batting average, good for second in NCAA D-1) came to bat in the first inning. When the second batter Hayden Nielsen was announced it struck me, “That’s odd; he’s the second player on the Cougars squad with that unusual first name (the Cougs starting pitcher was lefthander Hayden Rogers).

The next BYU hitter was Tanner Chauncey, and he was followed by Colton Shaver. When the final hitter of the inning Keaton Kringlen flied out, I realized there was an extremely rare pattern here, something akin to a Mandlebrot fractal. Not a Mike, Pete, Bill or Rick among the lot of ‘em.  

The parents of these fine Utah boys had selected what I consider atypical first names for their children, perhaps so they would “stand out” and “be different.” {Or as Jerry Seinfeld might counter, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”} 

And those weren’t the only ones in BYU’s lineup. 

The leadoff hitter is a Brennon, the catcher a Bronson, and the third baseman a Jackson, ‘though the announcers referred to him as “Jack” (whew, finally some normalcy). 

The pitchers who followed Hayden Rogers were (by first name only): Jordan, Riley, Keaton, Easton and Bo. 

To show this isn’t just a Mormon thing (and I recognize that non-Mormons attend the school), over on the Utah side the heart of their lineup featured a Dallas, Kellen, Hunter, a pinch hitter named Chandler, and a shortstop whose given name is Ellis. 

Plus the Utes pitchers included Tanner, Nolan, Hunter and Andre. Not to mention Lars Lofgren who had mop up duty out of the pen. 

My goodness—what are odds of this occurring on the same ballfield and afternoon? 

Whatever happened to “Be Like Mike”? 

Well, I’m off to Davis Little League to watch my grandson…Desmond. 




Sac State Completes Season Sweep of Nevada With 7-2 Win In Reno 

(Sac State Media Relations)

RENO, Nev. – Sacramento State got six strong innings from starter Tanner Olson, Chris Lewis went 3-for-5 with three runs batted in, and juniors Gunner Pollman and Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) hit solo home runs as the Hornets defeated Nevada 7-2 Tuesday night in Reno.

The Hornets beat Nevada for the second time this year after a 5-2 win at Raley Field March 6.

Sacramento State (19-13) out hit the Wolf Pack 10-8 and allowed just one extra base hit. Nevada (15-15) had won eight of its last 10 games.

~ ~ ~

Cal Bears Maul Mustangs 7-1 In San Luis Obispo

No. 17 Cal (20-9) roared back from a series loss at Oregon last weekend to beat Cal Poly SLO 7-1 in a non-conference matchup.

Bears starting pitcher Tanner Dodson (Jesuit) won his first collegiate game. The freshman right-hander (1-2) hurled six shutout innings, allowing the Mustangs just four hits and two walks while striking out three.

In the Cal fourth, the Bears batted around scored six runs. It all began when the Pac-12's leading hitter Brett Cumberland doubled to open the inning. He eventually scored when right fielder Denis Karas--in for the injured Brian Celsi (Jesuit)--was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded (to read how Celsi was injured on Saturday, see below).

In the same inning, with two outs Aaron Knapp (Granite Bay High) singled through the right side, scoring two more runs, making it 4-0 Cal. Two batters later, Cumberland copied Knapp and the Bears led 6-0.

Both teams managed only five hits in the contest. Cal Poly dropped to 19-12.



(Sac State Media Relations)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – In the resumption of Saturday's suspended game Sacramento State completed a 6-3 win to open action on Sunday before senior AJ Monnarez threw a complete game leading CSU Bakersfield to a 4-2 win in the series finale.

The defending WAC Tournament champion, CSU Bakersfield (7-23, 2-7 WAC) claimed the series after recording a narrow 4-3 win in the first game on Saturday. Sacramento State (18-13, 7-2 WAC) remains near the top of the WAC standings just one game behind league-leading Seattle U.

The Hornets had a 6-3 lead through eight innings when the second game of Saturday's doubleheader was suspended due to rain. The teams had to wait through another two hour delay due to field conditions before completing the contest on Sunday.


Oregon Pitchers Silence Cal Thunder in 4-3 Victory 

by Editor Rick Cabral

Eugene, Oregon--On a showery April afternoon when rain postponed the Giants-Dodgers game at AT&T Park by almost an hour, in sunny Eugene the Ducks thrived on springtime sunshine, nipping No. 11-ranked California (19-8, 8-3 Pac-12) 4-3 to even the series. 

They did it with pitching and timely round trippers.

Oregon took a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning on Austin Grebeck’s homer off Cal starter Jeff Bain (3-2). 

In the Bears third, Robbie Tenerowicz led off with a single and stole second base. Aaron Knapp (Granite Bay High) continued his hot hand with a single, knocking in the Bears' second baseman to tie the score at 1-1.

In the fifth inning, Knapp drove in his second run (and 14th RBI of the season) with a fielder’s choice to first base to tie the score again, this time 2-2.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Ducks Kyle Kasser drew a walk and A.J. Balta hit a line drive just over the wall for a two-run homer. Cal right fielder Brian Celsi (Jesuit) attempted to snag it before the ball left the yard, and in the process leaped over the fence like a high jumper using the Fosbury Flop, landing hard on his back and shoulders.

Several minutes later after both trainers and Coach David Esquer checked on his status, Celsi slowly walked off the field as the Bears trailed 4-2. 

Krook sailed through the top of the seventh inning, fanning Tenerowicz and Grand Pre. But when he walked Celsi’s replacement, Jeffrey Mitchell Junior, Oregon Coach George Horton brought in right-handed reliever Brac Warren, who struck out Devin Pearson on three pitches for the third out.

Krook (2-1) dominated Cal through six and two-thirds innings, stingily limiting the Bears to two runs (one earned) on two hits, while walking six and striking out nine batters. 

Cal made things interesting, however, in the eighth inning. 

After Knapp flied out, Mitchell Kranson singled. Brett Cumberland—the conference leader in six offensive categories and who was walked twice today—flew out. Yesterday’s hero Brenden Farney singled to right field, moving Kranson to third base. Horton then went to his closer Stephen Nogosek, who came in with a 1.43 earned run average. 

Cal first baseman Nick Halamandaris lined the first pitch he saw into center field, driving in Kranson to cut the Oregon lead to 4-3. Nogosek, who pitched Woodcreek High to a Section II Sac-Joaquin Championship in 2013, retired Tenerowicz on a fielder’s choice to maintain the Duck’s one-run lead. 

Nogosek (1-1) retired the side in the ninth inning to earn his seventh save of the season as the Ducks improved to 3-5 in conference play. 

Cal starter Bain allowed Oregon four runs (three earned) on four hits with two walks and five punchouts. Cal managed only five singles all afternoon off the excellent Oregon pitching, yet that was one more than Oregon managed. Balta was the Ducks’ hero at the plate, driving in three of the team’s four runs. 

Tomorrow the teams meet at noon for the rubber match at PK Park.

The result of the Giants game? The Dodgers won 3-2 in 10 the rain.

~ ~ ~

Hornets Drop Game One 4-3
Lead Bakersfield 6-3 in 9th of Suspended Game Two

(Sac State Media Relations)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – After CSU Bakersfield rallied for a 4-3 win in the first game of the doubleheader the Hornets (17-12, 6-1 WAC) held a 6-3 lead going to the ninth inning in game two when the contest was suspended due to rain.

Bakersfield (6-22, 1-6 WAC) scored three runs in the seventh inning and then blanked Sacramento State through the final two frames for the win. All four runs were charged to Sacramento State lefty Sam Long (3-5), who pitched 6.2 innings and took the loss.

The second game will resume in the top of the ninth inning at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The series finale, originally scheduled for noon on Sunday, will be played following the conclusion of the suspended game. The teams were playing a doubleheader on Saturday because rain postponed the first game of the series on Friday.



Berkeley Blasts Ducks 12-2 Behind Mason’s CG Win  

(Cal Bears Media Relations)

Cal pitcher Ryan Mason (Placer High) pitched another nine-inning gem to lead Cal to a 12-2 victory over the Ducks in Eugene this evening. 



Pitcher Ryan Mason
Courtesty of Cal Athletics

When Mason took the mound in the bottom of the first, the No. 11 Bears (19-7) offense had given him a 5-0 lead. 

Aaron Knapp (Granite Bay High) started it off with a one-out single, and later scored on Brett Cumberland’s single to give Berkeley a 1-0 lead. Cumberland—the Pac-12 Player of the Week— leads the conference in several offensive categories. With Mitchell Kranson on second base and Cumberland on first, Brenden Farney smoked a three-run homer.

Mason gave up a two-RBI single to Jak Bennett as the Ducks cut the lead to 5-2. 

But that was about all the 6’6” right-hander would allow, as Mason limited Oregon to two earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out eight. In recording his second complete game of the season, Mason earned his 23rd win of his career, tying him for sixth all-time in Bears history. 

Mason finished the game with four consecutive 1-2-3 innings, retiring 15 out of the last 17 hitters he faced. He struck out four in the last four innings, touching 94 miles per hour in the ninth. The Auburn, California native tossed a season-high 119 pitches in the win.

“We are just a tough team to beat when we are doing everything right and we did everything right tonight,” Mason said following the game. “I have to give the offense a lot of credit for making me comfortable and I have to give the defense a lot of credit for always being there for me. Everything kind of just fell into place tonight and it’s another good win.”

The Cal offense totaled 21 hits, including Farney’s 4-for-5 night with four RBI. Cumberland, who went 3-for-4 with one RBI, raised his average to .443. 

Knapp, who is on a tear, had a pair of hits. On Tuesday in the 8-6 loss to Stanford, the junior center fielder went 2-for-4 with an RBI, three stolen bases and two runs scored. 

Freshman Tanner Dodson (Jesuit) started against the Cardinal. He allowed seven hits, two walks and four earned runs in the no decision. 

~ ~ ~

Hawai’i Wins 6-5 Over UC Davis in 10 Innings 

Visiting Hawai’i (14-15, 3-1 Big West) snapped an extra-inning tie to defeat UC Davis 6-5 in the first of a three-game series this afternoon.

With one out in the 10th inning J. Sheldon-Collins singled. He advanced to second on a wild pickoff attempt, and later went to third base on a passed ball. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Marcus Doi to give the Rainbow Warriors a 6-5 lead, which stood up when they retired the Aggies in order in the bottom half.

UC Davis (8-16, 1-3 Big West) led 5-1 after the second inning. Jacob Thomas doubled to knock in a pair of runs for the Aggies in the bottom of the second after an RBI single by Tanner Bily.

But Hawai’i plated a pair of runs in the sixth and the eighth inning to tie the game. The 'Bows had 18 hits in the contest, and left 16 runners on base.

Cody Culp (2-1) was winner and Blake Peters (3-3) the loser for UC Davis in this Big West conference game.


River Cats announce 2016 Opening Day roster

The Sacramento River Cats have announced their 2016 Opening Day roster, o n the eve of their 17th season in Sacramento. Five of the players spent time with the San Francisco Giants last year.

The Opening Day roster also includes seven of’s Top 30 Prospect Watch players in the Giants organization in Mac Williamson (7), Clayton Blackburn (12), Steven Okert (17), Jarrett Parker (19), Ty Blach (24), Derek Law (27), and Chris Stratton (28).

The pitching staff looks to continue its success from last season after coming off a team record single-season 3.85 earned run average. The rotation is headlined by Blackburn, who claimed the Pacific Coast League ERA title  (2.85) in 2015, and Blach, whose 11 wins were tied for third best in the league.

Behind the plate for the River Cats is local product Andrew Susac (Jesuit), along with veteran talents George Kottaras and Miguel Olivo, who have a combined 20 years experience in The Show. The infield includes five new faces, with Juan Ciriaco the only returner from the 2015 season.

The outfield will see a number of familiar faces in Parker, Williamson, and Darren Ford. The outfield will be deeper than ever with the addition of Gorkys Hernandez, a fleet-footed centerfielder who swiped 24 bases last season across three different levels.

Leading the way in 2016 will be new manager Jose Alguacil, who joins the River Cats after one season as the skipper in Double-A Richmond. Alguacil – or Augi, for short–led the Flying Squirrels to a 72-68 in what was his managerial debut.

Joining him on the staff is new Hitting Coach Damon Minor, who re-joins the Giants organization from the New Orleans Zephyrs, where he served as the hitting coach for five seasons. Pitching Coach Dwight Bernard returns for his second season in Sacramento.


Fresno State Takes Sac State 7-5 At Home

(Sac State Mediar Relations)

Sacramento State Hornets (17-11)--on the road for the first time after a 13-game homestand--took it on the chin in Fresno as the Bulldogs (21-9) held on for a 7-5 win.

The Bulldogs are now 16-2 on their home field.

The Hornets' Andrew McWilliam went 4-for-5 with three runs batted in, but Fresno State homered three times, limiting Sac State to go 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Sacramento State got a quick run in the ninth on a leadoff single from freshman Matt Smith and a McWilliam RBI double but Bulldog closer Dylan Lee retired the next three batters to close it out.

In his second start as a Hornet junior Tanner Olson was solid again, allowing just two earned runs on five hits in five innings pitched but took the loss.


Bears Sweep UCLA on Cumberland Bombs in 5-3 Win 

by Editor Rick Cabral

Berkeley, Calif.— The Cal Bears (18-6 / 7-2 Pac-12), behind the big stick of Brett Cumberland and six shutout innings by starter Matt Ladrech, downed UCLA 5-3 to sweep the series at Evans Diamond. 

The 13th-ranked Bears, who swept Oregon State last weekend at home, are now tied for first place with Utah in the Pac-12 Standings. 

Cumberland came up in the first inning with Aaron Knapp (Granite Bay High) standing on second base. Cumberland blasted the first pitch he saw—a fastball— from UCLA starter Kyle Molnar (2-2) over the wall near the foul pole in right field to give the Bears a quick 2-0 lead.

Cumberland—who came into today’s contest with a Pac-12-leading .406 batting average—led off the fourth inning and Molnar again poured in a fast ball, and got the same result—a line shot over the right field wall for the Bears catcher’s 10th home run of the season (also best in the Pac-12).

Ladrech (3-1) was given today’s spot start due to a late pull-out by Friday starter Daulton Jeffries. The last-minute change (literally) moved the weekend starters up a notch (more on that later). Cal coach Dave Esquer was immensely impressed by the left-hander’s relief appearance last Saturday against Oregon State (six shutout innings), so he started him today. 

Again, Esquer was amply rewarded.

Ladrech tossed six shutout innings, allowing nine hits and one run against a UCLA team that has dropped five straight (they’re now 12-13 / 4-5 Pac-12). UCLA head coach John Savage showed some of the frustration of losing when in the bottom of the third inning he challenged a check swing call that went in favor of the Bears batter, Mitchell Kranson. 

Savage was heard yelling from the visitor’s dugout “G**dammit, let’s go!” toward home plate umpire Heath Jones. Jones—who’s large enough to play offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys—issued a warning to the Bruins skipper, who tried to fire up his boys to go after Cal’s crafty lefty, Ladrech, who seemed to mesmerize the Bruins like an Indian snake charmer. 

In the Bruins fourth inning, Ladrech plunked lead-off hitter Kort Peterson with a curve ball to put the leadoff batter on base. But Cumberland the sophomore catcher nailed the runner attempting to steal second. Ladrech allowed a single just before retiring the last batter to hold UCLA scoreless. 

The Bruins got the leadoff man aboard with a single to start the fifth inning. UCLA’s Daniel Amaral then laid down a sweet sacrifice bunt along the first base line. Ladrech fielded it, wheeled and barely nipped the runner in time at first base. Then with a runner in scoring position, the southpaw continued mixing fast balls on the outside corner with curves and change ups. After five innings, he had allowed UCLA seven hits, but no runs. 

Meantime, Molnar settled in and began mowing down the Bears lineup. 

In the sixth, when Cumberland came to bat with one out, the freshman right-hander wisely threw an off-speed pitch for a strike, and then a second one for a quick 0-2 count. Cumberland, who’s leading the Pac-12 in almost every offensive category, worked a full count before Molnar struck him out. 

In the top of the 7th inning, the Bruins broke through the ice. With two quick outs, Ladrech seemed headed back to the bench, but Luke Persico singled up the middle and then the pitcher walked Eric Filia, who leads UCLA in batting with a .365 average. Coach Esquer had seen enough from his starter and brought in reliever Keaton Siomkin.

Sean Bouchard hit a screamer toward the left side of second base. It appeared Cal shortstop Preston Grand-Pre would field the ball at his belt and step on the bag to end the rally. Instead, at the last moment, the ball took a giant hop, glanced off the shortstop’s glove (which at that point was around eye level) and landed in the outfield. The scorer gave Grand-Pre an error, but it could have easily gone for a base hit. Either way, the Bruins were on the board and threatening for more. 

Siomkin worked a full count to Peterson, who fouled off the next two pitches before fanning at a changeup that ended the rally, leaving Cal ahead 3-1. 

The Bears padded that lead with single runs in the seventh and eighth innings (the latter courtesy of Cumberland’s 4th RBI) and took a 5-1 lead into the ninth inning. 

Cal closer Erik Martinez allowed two runs with one out, and had the tying run on base when he got pinch hitter Brett Stephens to hit into a game-ending double play to seal the 5-3 victory. 

The Bruins, who had 12 hits (but also left a dozen on base), were led by Persico and Filia who each went 3-for-4 with three RBI.  

Meanwhile, Cal’s Cumberland (who prepped at Turlock High) led all hitters. The Bears, who also had 12 hits this afternoon, were led by Knapp, Grand Pre and first baseman Nick Halamandaris, who each had two hits for the winners. 

Today’s victory was especially sweet for Dave Esquer, as it represented a tie-breaker in the long history between these two University of California schools. The Bears now own bragging rights as they have one more win than UCLA (177-176). 

On Friday evening, about 15 minutes prior to game time, Cal pitcher Ryan Mason (Placer High) was informed he was starting in place of Daulton Jefferies, who reported “lower body stiffness.” 

Mason (4-1) went out and threw seven sterling innings, scattering six hits and two walks while allowing one run to earn his fourth win of the season in Cal’s 9-1 victory (he also had 7 K’s). After the game, Coach Esquer was quoted by the Bears media relations,  “I’ve said it before, if he’s [Ryan Mason] not the best competitor I’ve ever coached, he’s right there…He competes…and gives you a chance to win.”

Friday’s win gave Mason a career record 22-8, good for 7th place all-time among Cal pitchers.

The Bears are riding a seven-game winning streak as they host Stanford under the lights on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. start. 

~ ~ ~

Aaron Knapp, who went 4-for-12 this weekend against UCLA, was all smiles after Sunday’s game.

“Awesome weekend. Sweeps do a lot for you in this league.” 

Knapp is the beneficiary of a family tradition. His dad Mike Knapp played for Cal and his older brother Andrew was an All-American catcher for the Bears, who was taken in the 2nd Round of the 2013 MLB Draft by Philadelphia. 

“It’s a blast coming to the ‘yard every day, knowing that your pops is here. Got to see Andrew play a bunch. My grandparents come to games, too; they came here. So, it starts way back. I’m just tryin’ to carry it on.” 

Last year as a sophomore Knapp batted .310 with seven doubles and four triples. 



Photo courtesy of Cal Athletic Dept.

Knapp, who was standing on second base this afternoon in the first inning when Brett Cumberland homered over the right field wall, confirmed his teammate is locked in at the plate. “I’ve never seen anyone hit like that. Unbelieveable.” 

Asked if this is Cal’s year to finish strong in the NCAA tournament, Knapp is confident, but also cautious about prognostications. 

“Hopefully.    We’re just taking it day by day.

"That’s the main goal when you begin the season. (It starts) when you win the first game of a series. Then win the series. Then win at the Regionals…” he says, reciting the litany that is indelibly etched in his mind.

Having come from a long-time lineage of Cal Bears baseballers.

~ ~ ~


(Sac State Media Relations)

Sophomore Andrew McWilliam tied the program record with four stolen bases and had 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored as Sacramento State completed a weekend sweep of Northern Colorado with a 6-3 win on Sunday.



Hornets Take Game Two 5-1 on Saturday

(Sac State Media Relations)

Junior Max Karnos allowed just one run over seven innings and senior Chris Lewis was 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles out of the leadoff spot as Sacramento State defeated Northern Colorado 5-1Saturday at John Smith Field. 

Sacramento State (16-10, 5-0 WAC) remained undefeated in the WAC and clinched a second series win to begin conference play. Northern Colorado (5-18, 0-2 WAC) remained winless in league games.

Karnos allowed just six singles and walked only one batter with five strikeouts in his fourth straight start allowing two runs or fewer. Junior Chad Perry struck out the side in the eighth inning and senior Tyler Beardsley struck out two in a perfect ninth in a dominant Hornet pitching performance.

In 21 innings pitched, Beardsley owns a team-low 0.43 earned run average (10 innings or more), and leads the pitching staff with a perfect 4-0 record, plus five saves.

~ ~ ~
Hart Starts In USC
 11-8 Loss at Stanford

Pitcher Mitch Hart (Granite Bay High) made his first appearance on the mound this season as visiting Southern Cal lost to Stanford 11-8 at Sunken Diamond.

According to Pac-12 color analyst J. T. Snow, Hart has been on the shelf all season due to "a sore shoulder" and had planned to throw only two innings.

Unfortunately, it didn't last that long. 

In the bottom of the second inning, Hart took the mound with a 5-0 lead. But Stanford generated two runs off the 6-4 right-hander, who showed signs of command issues. He was replaced after one-and-a-third innings.

USC took an 8-3 lead into the fifth inning, but Stanford mounted a comeback. The Cardinal scored five runs in the sixth inning to tie the game at 8-8, then plated three more to win the contest 11-8.

As a freshman last year for the Trojans, Hart started 15 games, posting a 7-3 mark with a 4.07 earned run average. Post-season honors included Pac-12 Honorable Mention and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American. 


Hornets Maul Bears 8-5 in Game 1 WAC Series 

by Editor Rick Cabral

Chris Lewis blasted a home run off the scoreboard in the fifth inning to give Sacramento State (15-10 / 4-0) a 3-2 lead, and the Hornets held on to beat Northern Colorado 8-5 in the first game of the conference series. 

In the top of the fifth inning, the Bears (5-17 / 0-1) tied the game with two runs against Sac State southpaw Sam Long (Del Campo High).



Homeplate umpire Jim Garman confirms Chris Lewis steps on the plate after hitting his home run which gave the Hornets a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning.

Nick Tanner drove in Payton Tapia with a single to left field. Tanner then stole second and went to third on an overthrow by catcher Gunner Polman. Jacob Ek leaked a single through the left side to plate Tanner and tie the score 2-2. 

Sacramento State had taken an early lead in the first inning off of Northern Colorado right-hander Corey Nakakura (2-2). 

With two outs, Kody Reynolds walked. Designated hitter Matt Smith (El Dorado High) appeared to make the third out with a sky-high fly ball to right field. But when Tanner, the Bears right fielder, settled under it near the foul pole, he lost the ball in the sun. Reynolds scored easily while Smith wound up on third base. 

Smith scampered home on Nakakura’s wild pitch to the backstop to give the Hornets the 2-0 lead. 

Long--this week's WAC Pitcher of the Week for his seven shutout innings against North Dakota--pitched six innings today, allowing those two earned runs on five hits. He walked three while fanning five batters. 

Right-handed relievers Jonny Palsha and Chad Perry (Marysville High) each pitched a scoreless inning. 

Meantime, the Hornets had padded their lead to 8-2 with two runs in the sixth and three runs in the seventh courtesy of their "small ball" offensive, featuring infield singles, scores on wild pitches and a steal of home by Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers).  

But the boys in blue from Colorado made things interesting in the final frame.

With the Hornets leading by six runs, Coach Reggie Christiansen turned to outfielder Blake Edmondson to pitch the ninth inning. Most of the relievers had been used in the two-game series earlier in the week against a hot-hitting New Mexico squad. Turns out that decision didn't work out well, as Edmondson walked the bases loaded with one out. 

Christiansen summoned closer Tyler Beardsley, who gave up a three-run double to Tanner, which cut the lead to 8-5. Beardsley allowed two more base runners, but retired the last two outs to preserve the victory. 

Nakakura only allowed two hits during his five innings, but the Lewis blast was his undoing. Sacramento State scored five more times off three Bears relievers. 

Tanner led all hitters, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and four runs batted in. Both teams managed seven hits and made one error. The Hornets’ Andrew McWilliam went 2-for-3 with one RBI. 

The two teams meet tomorrow at 1 p.m. for the second game of the series. 



Matt Smith's fly ball in the first inning fell for a triple,
scoring the Hornets' first run.


Blaser and Titans Feast on UCLA Pitching, Win 14-7

Dalton Blaser (Roseville High/Sierra College) doubled in two runs in Fullerton State's eight-run second inning last night at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

In the top of the fourth for good measure the left-handed slugger led off with a solo home run, his second of the season. 



Blaser's 4th Inning Home Run Vs. UCLA

For the night, Blaser went 2-for-5, raising his average to a team-leading .333 on a Titans (13-11) squad that is not hitting like last year's College World Series team.

Senior Jarrod Bravo (Ponderosa High) and freshman Hank LoForte (Franklin High) also started in yesterday's rivalry game with the Bruins (12-10).


Lobos Bludgeon Hornets 12-3

by Editor Rick Cabral

New Mexico (17-8) broke out the lumber today in an impressive offensive demonstration at John Smith Field, accounting for 12 runs on 17 hits, including two home runs, as the Lobos defeated Sacramento State 12-3. 

The Lobos, who play in the Mountain West conference, figure in the Top 20 in several NCAA offensive categories, with six hitters topping .300 or better. 

They were hot right out of the gate as Chris DeVito took Hornets starter Austin Root (0-1) deep for a two-run first-inning homer to give the Lobos an early 2-0 lead.

There were so many thocks and whacks coming from the Lobos' bats today one imagined Tito Puente playing in the barbecue area.

New Mexico struck again in the top of the fourth when leadoff hitter Jack Zoellner whapped a fast ball over the center field wall off reliever Ryan Smith and the boys in red went up 3-0. They scored three more times that inning on back-to-back doubles by catcher Andrew Pratt (a two-run knock) and Luis Gonzalez. 

The Hornets finally answered in the fifth (breaking a scoreless skein of 13 innings against the Lobos) when junior Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) doubled in two runs with a blast against the center field wall. 

But the Lobos kept swatting the pellet around the ‘yard, no matter who was on the mound today. Even their screaming foul balls were loud.

With the score 8-3, they scored four more runs in the seventh inning. Zoellner led off the hit parade with a double, and the Lobos went single, double, single crossing the plate three more times.

Then New Mexico's DeVito (who raised his average to .404 with a 3-hit afternoon) added a sacrifice fly to make it an even dozen runs, collecting his 4th RBI of the day. 

Sophomore right-hander James Harrison (4-1) gave New Mexico five strong innings, allowing three runs on seven hits. 

After New Mexico stopped Matt Smith's hitting streak at 16 games yesterday, the Hornets freshman from El Dorado High started another one with two singles. Smith is now hitting an even .400 for the season. Chris Lewis also had a pair of safeties.

Sacramento State (14-10) returns to Western Athletic Conference action when they host Northern Colorado for a three-game series beginning Friday at 3 p.m.


New Mexico Shuts Out Sacramento State 1-0 

Sacramento State's (14-9) five-game winning streak was snapped today when New Mexico pitcher Colton Thomson hurled eight shutout innings in a 1-0 win over the Hornets.

In the third inning New Mexico (16-8) loaded the bases on three straight singles off Sacramento State starter Tanner Olson (1-2). Jared Holley’s sacrifice fly plated the only run scored in the game. 

Thomson (3-1) allowed four singles, one walk and fanned eight Hornets hitters while lowering his earned run average to 2.33. Victor Sanchez pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his seventh save. 

The Hornets copied the Lobos in the 3rd inning, loading the bases with nobody out. But Thomson struck out the next two hitters, and retired freshman Matt Smith on a fly out to center field, wasting State's best scoring chance of the game.

Smith (El Dorado High) went 0-for-4, ending his 16-game hitting streak. The streak started with the team's first game (he missed six games due to injury). He is now batting a team-leading .393 for Sacramento State.

Olson only allowed the one run, one walk and five singles through five innings. Reliever Jonny Palsha pitched three scoreless innings for the Hornets.

The Hornets were 8-0 in one-run games this season until they ran into the Lobos.

The two teams play again tomorrow in a non-conference game at 2 p.m. at John Smith Field. New Mexico is a member of the Mountain West Conference. 

~ ~ ~


(Sac State Media Relations)

DENVER - For his seven shutout innings in a 1-0 Hornet win over North Dakota junior left-handed pitcher Sam Long was named the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Pitcher of the Week, the conference announced Monday.



Long (Del Campo High) allowed just four singles and two walks over seven scoreless innings in the win over the Fighting Hawks. He tied his career high with seven strikeouts and faced just 25 batters in seven innings, only four over the minimum.

He helped his own cause defensively picking off a runner at second base and allowed just one stolen base.

Against North Dakota Long recorded his fourth start this season where he allowed two earned runs or fewer.







Cal Bears Sweep Oregon State with Game Three 5-3 Win

by Editor Rick Cabral

It’s not often a game is won, or victory forestalled, in the top of the first inning. Yet that was the case in Berkeley this afternoon, as Cal coach David Esquer opted early to go to his bullpen. 

With one out, and the bases crammed, starter Jeff Bain had already allowed four hits, including a two-run homer by sophomore K.J. Harrison over the left field fence. A walk to hot-hitting OSU catcher Logan Ice, followed by back-to-back singles loaded the bases, and the Beavers were gnawing on the kitchen pantry door, demanding more savory delights. 

And it certainly appeared they were on their way to salvaging the third game and avoiding a sweep to No. 20 Cal (14-6 /4-2). 

Esquer summoned from the bullpen Matt Ledrech (2-1) who owned a 1-1 record and a 6.43 earned run average. 

Two pitches later Kyle Nobach flied out to left field, scoring Ice on the sacrifice fly and extending Oregon State’s lead to 3-0. A put out at second base finally quelled the OSU rally. 

Little did we know that was it for the Oregon State (16-5 / 3-3) offense. As Ladrech went on to hurl 7.2 hitless innings, shutting down a Beavers lineup that had been raking at a .313 clip. 

In the bottom of the second inning, Cal Bears roared back against Oregon State starter Travis Eckert (2-2). 

After the Bear’s leading hitter Brett Cumberland swung and missed at Eckert’s curve for strike three, the ball bounced to the backstop and Cumberland easily lumbered to first base. Brenden Farney singled sharply up the middle. Left-handed hitter Brian Celsi (Jesuit) hit a smash that was handled like a hot potato for an error by Harrison, the OSU first baseman. That loaded the bases for the Bears. 

Senior Nick Halamandaris—who went 3-for-4— scorched a single to left center, scoring Cumberland and Farney, cutting the lead to 3-2. Robbie Tenerowicz’s sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position, and Preston Grand Pre’s single up the middle scored both runners to give Cal the 4-3 lead. 

From there Ladrech and OSU reliever Luke Heimlich traded zeros for four innings,

Cal scored once more in the seventh inning when Aaron Knapp tripled to the right field foul pole, knocking in Devin Pearson for an insurance run. Knapp of Granite Bay High went 2-for-4. 

In the ninth inning, closer Erik Martinez came on for Ladrech.

After inducing a ground out, he walked Ice, with Morrison representing the tying run at the plate. With the count 2-2, Martinez caught Morrison looking at a backdoor curveball for strike three. Many of the 1,730 Cal fans stood and cheered, and then Martinez induced a comebacker for the third out, locking in his seventh save of the season.

The Bears had closed out the contest and earned a sweep of Oregon State, which will surely drop from its number three position in the rankings, according to several national polls. Conversely (Hey, when in Rome, speak as the Romans), Cal will clearly climb closer to the Top 10. 

Another sour note for the Beavers: freshman second baseman Nick Madrigal’s 14-game hitting was snapped. Also, this marked the first time in 21 games the flashy glove man from Elk Grove didn’t safely reach base.

Madrigal is still second in hitting with a .364 average.

~ ~ ~ 

On a personal note, not only was it a gorgeous day by the Bay, with temps in the low '60s, and the Pac-12 pennants blowing in leisurely from the west, we had the pleasure of sitting next to Cal alumnus, Stu Gordon.

Gordon, who pitched for the Bears in 1961-62, is credited with leading the fundraising charge in 2011 to raise the $10 million necessary to save the baseball program at his alma mater. As baseball fans will remember, that was the miracle season when Esquer's club stared in the abyss of cancellation, only to end their season in Omaha at the College World Series.

As Gordon told me, "The only way Hollywood could have written a better script is if the Bears had won it (the CWS)."

But as we noted, no one would ever buy it.



(Sac State Media Relations)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento State picked up a pair of wins over North Dakota on Saturday, with both victories coming from late-inning heroics.

The Hornets took game one of the doubleheader in 11 innings, 3-2, on a walk-off single from Trent Goodrich and won game two, 3-2, on an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth from Vinny Esposito (Granite Bay High).

Sacramento State (14-8 / 3-0) won its fifth straight game and swept its first conference series of the season for the third consecutive year. The Hornets' five straight wins have all come by a single run. The squad is 8-0 in one-run games and 3-0 in extra inning games this season behind a strong bullpen and timely hitting.

The Hornets are now 6-2 on their record long 13-game homestand with five more contests to come next week. The team hosts New Mexico at 3 p.m. Monday and 2 p.m. Tuesday at John Smith Field.

Smith Continues Hot Hitting Streak

Freshman Matt Smith (El Dorado High) extended his career-opening hitting streak to 16 games with his batting average at .421. Smith went 2-for-4 in the second game and tallied a single in the first game on Saturday.




Hornets Claim First WAC Win With 1-0 Victory Over North Dakota

by Editor Rick Cabral

Sacramento State (12-8 / 1-0) defeated North Dakota 1-0, winning their first conference game of the year in an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel at John Smith Field.


Sam Long spun a gem today in the Hornets 1-0 Win Over North Dakota

Hornets’ starter Sam Long (2-4) hurled his finest game of the season, throwing seven strong shutout innings. The junior left-hander limited North Dakota (3-11 / 0-1) to four singles and two walks while striking out seven.  

Over on the other side, lefty Zach Muckenhirn dominated the Hornets lineup, striking out 14 in 7.1 innings. He threw 104 pitches, 71 of which were for strikes. Muckenhirn allowed just four hits, but two of those came in the first inning. 

Trent Goodrich singled and stole second base. Hornets freshman Matt Smith singled to knock in Goodrich for the game’s only score. With that bingle, Smith (El Dorado High) extended his hitting streak to 14 games (see our feature on the Fab Frosh below). 

Long, (Del Campo High), who came into the contest with an atypical 4.29 earned run average, won for the first time since March 4 against South Dakota State, lowering his ERA to 3.86. 


He worked out of a jam in the second inning when he had runners at second and first base with one out. Long retired the next hitter on a pop-up that yielded an infield fly rule. Then Dan Deely stopped a hot smash at third base, stepping on the bag for the third out.  

In the third inning, in a similar scenario, Long picked off the runner at second base to end the Fighting Hawks rally. 

Later in the sixth,  Goodrich made a fielding error with one out. Hornets catcher Gunner Pollman gunned down the attempted base stealer with a perfect toss to second base. Long then fanned North Dakota’s batter looking at a called strike fastball.  

Chad Perry (Marysville High) pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Sacramento State closer Tyler Beardsley came on in the ninth and did his job. But he made it interesting. 

Beardsley allowed an infield single. When the next batter attempted a sacrifice bunt Beardsley fielded it on one hop, wheeled and threw to second to begin a perfect 1-6-3 double play. The tall right hander then struck out the game's final batter to put an exclamation mark on a well-pitched game by both teams. 

The two squads meet again tomorrow in a double header beginning at 11 a.m.  


Matt Smith Hit his Game Winner in the 1st Inning.

College Notes

Cal 5, OSU 0

Right-hander Ryan Mason (Placer High) hurled a four-hit complete game shutout this evening as Cal defeated Oregon State 5-0.

Nick Madrigal (Elk Grove High) got one of those hits, knocking a double off Mason and extending his hitting streak to 14 games. Madrigal is hitting .381 for the season, and has hit safely in 19 of 20 games in his young career.

No. 3-ranked Oregon State has taken it on the chin twice this weekend to No. 20 Cal.

~ ~ ~


Freshman Matt Smith On 13-game Hitting Tear
for Hometown Hornets

By Editor Rick Cabral

Sacramento State’s newest freshman sensation is Matt Smith. Smith, an All-Metro player at El Dorado High last season, is leading the Hornets with a .426 average and 12 runs batted in.



Matt Smith Leads Hornets Hitters with .426 Average
Photo courtesy Sacramento State
Media Relations

Even more impressive, the 6’4” slugger is riding a 13-game hitting streak, which happens to be the exact number of games he has played in his young collegiate career. Smith missed six of the Hornets 19 games (they’re 11-8 coming into conference play tomorrow against North Dakota State) due to an injury that could have sidelined him much longer. More on that later.

Coach Reggie Christiansen isn’t surprised that Smith has quickly become the team’s best hitter. “We knew when we recruited him that he had the ability to hit. We just didn’t know it was going to show up this early.

“He’s someone you need to leave alone. He has a real good understanding of what he’s trying to do (in the batter’s box). It’s been fun to watch for sure.”

Early on Smith demonstrated he was made of steely stuff when Sacramento State opened the season on an eight-game road trip, with six of those contests coming against Southeastern Conference schools LSU and Auburn. Smith opened his freshman season with nine hits and eight RBI, including a dramatic 9th inning single that tied the game in the Hornets 5-4 win over No. 5-ranked LSU.

In his previous four at-bats, Smith had fanned each time, earning him the inglorious “golden sombrero.”

“Nothing phases him; he’s a free-spirited kid,” notes the Hornets skipper. “He has a great perspective on life, doesn’t take himself too seriously.”

“You have to have the mindset that when you go out there, you’re just going to put your best swing on the ball,” Smith remarked. He credits Christiansen and associate head coach Steve Holm (McClatchy) of “ingraining that in your head” to “look for a fastball and drive it up the middle.”

Christiansen likens Smith to another local prize recruit, Rhys Hoskins (Jesuit). In his freshman season, Hoskins batted .353 with 10 home runs and 53 runs batted in, earning him a selection on the 2012 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team. Hoskins was taken in the 5th  by the Phillies in the 2014 MLB draft.

The following year Chris Lewis, now a senior outfielder for the Hornets, had an outstanding freshman season. In 2013 Lewis led the team in hitting with a .349 average, earning him Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American, WAC Freshman of the Year and All-WAC First Team selection.

Apparently the only one who wasn’t expecting this kind of early success is Matt Smith himself. “Not what I expected at all. We went out and played those SEC schools, which are very competitive. It was pretty nice getting my first hit at Auburn.”

On March 6 against South Dakota State, Smith failed to get out of the way of a fastball that struck him in the left eye, causing swollenness and zero vision for three days. He visited enough doctors to fill out a lineup card, with one of them prescribing surgery on the eye itself to relieve the swelling. That would have resulted in a six-week recovery.

Fortunately, a subsequent doctor diagnosed the problem as a compression fracture of the sinus, which required time and rest (a week’s worth as it turned out). And a new addition to his batting helmet—a facemask.

Smith returned to his designated hitter spot on March 16 at home against Cal Poly SLO and whacked the first pitch he saw into left field, continuing the torrid hitting streak.

“Just getting back in the (batter’s) box (was) a sigh of relief, you’re playing again, you’re back on the field with your teammates.”

Prior to college Smith said he’d had “a couple of helmet grazes, but I’ve never been squared up.”

In high school, Smith did most of the squaring up. In his senior season at El Dorado High he was two ticks shy of batting .600 with 14 home runs, earning a first team All-Metro selection by the Sacramento Bee.

Smith said he chose Sacramento State because it offered “everything I wanted. It’s really proven to be a great fit for me. I feel as if I’m a member of the (baseball) family." While in high school he played on the Stingers travel ball squad, getting to know his future coaches Christiansen and Holm. "

"And Reggie has built a team that is up-and-coming. It showed when we beat No. 5 LSU and took 2-of-3 from Auburn,” Smith noted.

Although the hitting streak is likely to stop sometime, we should expect to see more highlights from the Hornets newest hitting star, Matt Smith.


Hornets Edge Dons 6-5 in 10 Innings

by Editor Rick Cabral

Blake Edmondson doubled in two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Sacramento State a 6-5 walk-off victory over visiting San Francisco (7-16) this afternoon.

The Hornets (11-8) roused themselves from a somnambulant first five innings where the Dons had already scored four runs and the Hornets had only one hit—that by their batting leader freshman Matt Smith, who extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

Bronson Grubbs (Pleasant Grove) who’s been making a name for himself in centerfield this season jump-started a sixth-inning rally with a bunt base hit. He stole second and came home on Chris Lewis’ single down the right field line.

In the seventh inning, the Hornets scored three times to tie the game 4-4. Junior catcher Gunner Pollman doubled in Smith, another run came in on a fielder’s choice, and Grubbs knocked in the tying run with a single.

With the game still tied 4-4 in the top of the 10th, closer Tyler Beardsley (3-0) allowed the Dons to take the lead. He gave up a single to Blake Valley, then made a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt, sending Valley to third base. Matt Sinatro’s sacrifice fly scored Valley to give San Francisco a 5-4 lead.

The Dons sent out new pitcher Frank Waliczek (0-1), who gave up back-to-back walks to Andrew McWilliam and Smith. Vinny Esposito’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position. And Edmondson—pinch hitting for Pollman—lined the game-winning hit to right center for the walk-off win.

San Francisco third baseman Dan James led all hitters, going 4-for-5 and teammates Valley and Alan Smoot each had three hits for the Dons, who totaled 16 hits, but left 14 runners on base.

Grubbs went 2-for-5 for the Hornets. Right-hander Austin Root (Oak Ridge High) pitched three shutout innings of middle relief to keep the Hornets in the game.

Coupled with Sunday’s 3-2 win over Cal Poly, the Hornets are riding a two-game winning streak. They meet conference foe North Dakota at home for a three-game series beginning Thursday at 3 p.m.


State Wins 3-2 Over Cal Poly on Sunday

by Editor Rick Cabral

Sacramento State (10-8) defeated Cal Poly (13-6) 3-2 in the third and final game of the series.

Andrew McWilliam’s RBI-single in the bottom of the eighth off Mustangs reliever Justin Calomeni (0-1) proved to be the game winner. Tyler Beardsley (2-0) tossed a perfect ninth inning for the win.

Hornets starter Max Karnos limited a hot-hitting Mustangs lineup to three singles and one earned run over seven strong innings for the no-decision. Karnos walked one and struck out five.

Matt Smith continued his hot hitting ways with a 3-for-4 day, including a double and an RBI. McWilliam enjoyed a two-hit day with two runs batted in, and Kody Reynolds also had a pair of safeties for the Hornets, who outhit the Mustangs 11-5 today.

Smith (El Dorado High) who has hit in all 12 games he has played in this season is hitting a team-leading .432 batting average, and also has the most RBI (12), despite missing a week’s worth of games after being hit in the face with a pitch against South Dakota State. Smith now wears a batting helmet with a protective mask.

Sac State center fielder Bronson Grubbs (Pleasant Grove High) flashed leather all game long, beginning with a crashing catch against the 400’ marker to start the game. The Hornets played another error-free game.

Just like yesterday, today’s game was moved up to an 11 a.m. start to avoid the predicted afternoon showers.

Sacramento State hosts San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon. The Hornets will host a three-game series against conference foe North Dakota State on Thursday. 



Game 2: Mustangs Ride Long Ball and Uelmen’s Arm to 4-0 Victory 

Cal Poly (13-5) pitcher Erich Uelmen hurled a complete-game shutout while his offense hit three homers to take the second game of today’s double header 4-0 at Sacramento State (9-8).

In the fourth inning Brett Barbier and John Schuknecht both hit solo shots off Hornets’ reliever Tyler Olson, who came in for starter Justin Dillon (El Dorado High). Dillon threw just two innings before leaving with an injury.

The next inning Alex McKenna hit his second home run of the day, this time off the Hornets’ third pitcher, Ryan Smith (Rocklin High). McKenna’s three-run blast won Game One for the Mustangs, who are on a 10-game road trip.

Meantime, Uelmen (3-0) pitched a gem, shutting out the Hornets on five hits. The 6’3” sophomore also allowed one walk, hit a batter and KO’d six Hornets on 109 pitches (67 for strikes). His defense turned two double plays.

With today’s sterling outing, Uelmen’s earned run average dropped to 2.02. Barbier, who had two hits in the second game, raised his batting average to .418.

A third game is scheduled tomorrow, with the time to be announced.

Last year, the two teams split a four-game series in San Luis Obispo, and the year before in the NCAA Regional Tournament hosted by Cal Poly, the Mustangs defeated the Hornets twice.

~ ~ ~
Game 1: Cal Poly Wins 6-4 Over Sac State

by Editor Rick Cabral

Cal Poly stormed back for six runs in the top of the fourth inning and rode the arm of pitcher Kyle Smith through seven to take the first game of a double header 6-4 against home team Sacramento State (9-7).

Hornets starter Sam Long (Del Campo) was cruising through three hitless innings when he gave up back-to-back doubles by Brett Barbier and John  Schuknecht. Kyle Marinconz then blooped one down the left field line for another double, knocking in both runners to tighten the score at 3-2.  

A single by Michael Sanderson put runners at the corners, causing a mound visit by associate head coach, Steve Holm. Catcher Nick Meyer laid down a safety squeeze to tie the game. Long walked the next hitter. Then with two outs, freshman Alex McKenna blasted a towering shot that struck two feet shy of landing on top of the parking structure. That three-run blast proved to be the game winner as Cal Poly took a 6-3 lead. 

All six runs off Long (1-4) were earned, who gave way to long reliever Grant Kekuk in the fifth. Kekuk pitched 4.1 innings of two-hit ball, quelling any future Mustangs rallies. 

The Hornets opened the scoring in the second inning.  

Freshman Matt Smith—after sitting out seven games with an injury—singled to start the rally. That extended his hitting streak to 10 games (Smith went 2-for-4 in the game). He advanced to second base on a wild pitch, and scored on Andrew McWilliam’s double to right-center field. Brandon Hunley’s single to deep shortstop (plus an error) scored McWilliam to give Sac State a 2-0 lead.

The Mustangs' southpaw Kyle Smith (3-1) gave up two more runs over his seven innings, but scattered 10 Hornets hits to keep his team in the game. He struck out five while walking two.

Freshman Justin Bruihl pitched two scoreless innings to earn his second save. 

The Hornets’ notched a rare inning-ending double play in the third when Long fanned the batter and catcher Gunner Pollman threw out the base runner attempting to steal third.


On the Ides of March...    

by Editor Rick Cabral

Hornets Manage 6-1 Victory Over William Jessup     

Sacramento State (9-6) scored four times in the seventh inning to crack open a non-classic “pitcher’s duel,” defeating William Jessup 6-1 in a home contest at John Smith Field.

Until the seventh, the Warriors and Hornets were locked in a 1-1 game.

Sac State starter Matt Gorgolinksi had hurled five innings of no-hit ball, allowing one run on a pair of walks and wild pitch. Meantime, William Jessup sent out a committee of eight pitchers who held the Hornets to four hits and one run through six innings.

Sac State broke open the contest when Andrew McWilliam led off the bottom of the seventh with a double off Manuel Velasquez (1-1). Two batters later, the Hornets loaded the bases with no out. A fielder’s choice cut down the lead runner at home. Then Bronson Grubbs (Pleasant Grove) laid down a bunt single and pinch runner P.J. Floyd (Whitney High) raced home to give State the 2-1 lead.

Seniors Trent Goodrich and Chris Lewis drove in three more runs with a single and a sacrifice fly, as the Hornets took a 5-1 lead. They padded it with one more run in the eighth.

The Warriors broke up Gorgolinki’s no-hitter in the sixth inning.

After a leadoff walk, freshman Steven Stockton (ironically of Stockton, Calif.) popped up a bunt attempt, but it landed in no-man’s land like a dying quail between the pitcher and first baseman. With the no-hitter gone, when Gorgolinski hit the next batter on pitch number 85, Coach Reggie Christiansen replaced the 6’-6”right-hander with senior Grant Kekuk.

Although Gorgoliski had only allowed the one hit, he walked four and hit one batter, mainly because his fastball often misfired up out of the zone.

Kekuk (2-1) hurled 3.2 innings of no-hit, shutout ball to earn the win.

Goodrich finished with three RBI and three Hornets hitters (McWilliam, Grubbs and Dan Deely) each had a pair of hits.

William Jessup (2-18), a private four-year school in Rocklin, is playing only its second baseball season in the NAIA.

Today’s contest marked the first of a 13-game homestand for the Hornets, the longest in the school’s Division I era. On Saturday (2 p.m.), Sac State welcomes Cal Poly for a three-game series. 


On the Ides of March...

by Editor Rick Cabral    

Hornets Manage 6-1 Victory Over William Jessup

Sacramento State (9-6) scored four times in the seventh inning to crack open a non-classic “pitcher’s duel,” defeating William Jessup 6-1 in a home contest at John Smith Field.  

Until the seventh, the Warriors and Hornets were locked in a 1-1 game.   

Sac State starter Matt Gorgolinksi had hurled five innings of no-hit ball, allowing one run on a pair of walks and wild pitch. Meantime, William Jessup sent out a committee of eight pitchers who held the Hornets to four hits and one run through six innings.  

Sac State broke open the contest when Andrew McWilliam led off the bottom of the seventh with a double off Manuel Velasquez (1-1). Two batters later, the Hornets loaded the bases with no out. A fielder’s choice cut down the lead runner at home. Then Bronson Grubbs (Pleasant Grove) laid down a bunt single and pinch runner P.J. Floyd (Whitney High) raced home to give State the 2-1 lead. 

Seniors Trent Goodrich and Chris Lewis drove in three more runs with a single and a sacrifice fly, as the Hornets took a 5-1 lead. They padded it with one more run in the eighth.  

The Warriors broke up Gorgolinki’s no-hitter in the sixth inning.   

After a leadoff walk, freshman Steven Stockton (ironically of Stockton, Calif.) popped up a bunt attempt, but it landed in no-man’s land like a dying quail between the pitcher and first baseman. With the no-hitter gone, when Gorgolinski hit the next batter on pitch number 85, Coach Reggie Christiansen replaced the 6’-6”right-hander with senior Grant Kekuk.   

Although Gorgoliski had only allowed the one hit, he walked four and hit one batter, mainly because his fastball often misfired up out of the zone. 

Kekuk (2-1) hurled 3.2 innings of no-hit, shutout ball to earn the win. 

Goodrich finished with three RBI and three Hornets hitters (McWilliam, Grubbs and Dan Deely) each had a pair of hits.   

William Jessup (2-18), a private four-year school in Rocklin, is playing only its second baseball season in the NAIA.  

Today’s contest marked the first of a 13-game homestand for the Hornets, the longest in the school’s Division I era. On Saturday (2 p.m.), Sac State welcomes Cal Poly for a three-game series.



Arizona Trumps Sac State 8-4 For Series Sweep

Tucson, Arizona—The Arizona Wildcats (11-4) swept the series with an 8-4 victory over Sacramento State (8-6) today.

Kody Reynolds had a two-run homer, and Dan Deely and Chris Lewis each had a RBI double to account for the four scores by the Hornets, who managed 10 hits to the Wildcats 11.

Right hander Justin Dillon (El Dorado High) in his first start of the season went three-plus innings for Sacramento State, allowing three earned runs.

The Hornets return home for a non-conference matchup with William Jessup on Tuesday afternoon.


Hornets Bombed by Wildcats 23-1

Tucson, Arizona-- Arizona (10-4) pounded seven Sacramento State pitchers for 24 hits and 23 runs in a 23-1 non-conference win.

The Hornets (8-5) managed just seven hits, while making three errors.

The Wildcats J.J. Matijevic went 4-for-6 with three doubles and four runs batted in.

Arizona goes for the sweep tomorrow in a 1 p.m. start.


‘Cats Take First Game Versus Hornets 3-1 

Tucson, Arizona—Catcher Ryan Haug drove in two runs to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning as Arizona (9-4) defeated Sacramento State 3-1 in the first game of a three-game series this evening.

The loss broke a four-game winning streak by the Hornets (8-4), who were off to their hottest start since 1993.

Sac State opened the scoring in the top of the fourth inning on a Bronson Grubbs (Pleasant Grove High) single to drive in Kody Reynolds.

In the bottom half of the fourth Arizona answered when Louis Boyd doubled down the left field line and advanced to third on a perfectly placed bunt to the pitcher by Ryan Aguilar. With runners at the corners, Zach Gibbons lashed a single to right field, scoring Boyd and knotting the score 1-1. The next hitter’s sacrifice bunt put Wildcats on third and second base.

But Long got out of the jam with a lineout and a fly out, limiting Arizona’s rally to the one score.

Arizona starter J.C. Cloney (3-1) returned the favor in the fifth, retiring all three Hornets hitters on fly outs.

With two out in the Wildcats half of the inning Cody Raymer drilled a full-count triple in the gap. But a perfect relay from Hornets left fielder Chris Lewis to shortstop Trent Goodrich to catcher Gunner Polman nabbed Raymer trying to stretch it into an inside-the-park home run, keeping the game tied at 1.

With momentum in the Sac State dugout, Lewis doubled to lead off the sixth inning and advanced to third on a fielder’s choice. But he was stranded there, erasing a promising opportunity to take the lead.

In the Arizona seventh, after the first two batters reached base, Haug broke the stalemate when he knocked in two runs with a single, giving the ‘Cats a 3-1 lead. After Haug reached second base, Long fanned Cramer to end the Wildcats’ rally.

Long (1-3) had his longest outing of the season, throwing 97 pitches through seven innings, while the Del Campo High grad allowed seven hits and three earned runs.

Sacramento State outhit Arizona 8-7 and played an error free game.

Freshman Matt Smith (El Dorado High) missed his third consecutive game due to injury. Smith, who is riding a nine-game hitting streak, leads all Hornets’ hitters (with a minimum 30 at bats) with a .406 average and 11 RBI.

The Hornets and Wildcats continue the weekend series tomorrow at 1 p.m.


Sacramento State Shuts Out SDSU 4-0 in Game 3

Shortstop Trent Goodridge led the offensive charge and starting pitcher Max Karnos and three relievers blanked South Dakota State (0-11) as Sacramento State (7-3) took the third game 4-0 at Klein Family Field on the campus of University of the Pacific this afternoon.

Goodridge went 3-for-3 with two runs batted in, including the game’s first score in the first inning when he drove in leadoff hitter Blake Edmondson with an RBI double. Goodridge later scored on a single by Vinny Esposito (Granite Bay High), giving Sac State a 2-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, junior catcher Gunner Polman clubbed an RBI double, and Goodridge knocked in his second run with a single in the eighth inning.

Karnos (1-1) pitched five sterling innings, allowing just two hits and two walks, while fanning five in earning his first win as a Hornet.

The three relievers Austin Root (Oak Ridge High), Chad Perry (Marysville High) and Tyler Beardsley limited the Jackrabbits to one hit over the final four innings.

Goodridge, a senior, and Karnos, a junior, are part of the community college transfers recruited by Hornets head coach, Reggie Christiansen this season.

Freshman Matt Smith (El Dorado High), who is riding a nine-game hitting streak, did not play in today's contest.

In sweeping the three-game series, the Hornets outscored South Dakota State 25-10.

For the second consecutive game Sacramento State hosted on a Stockton college field, as this weekend’s winter storms left John Smith Field unplayable for all but one game, the win on Friday. Originally, the Hornets and Jackrabbits were scheduled to play four games at Sac State.

Sacramento State will play its next home game away as well, as the Hornets will battle Nevada (4-7) of the Mountain West Conference at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening at Raley Field.



Teams Are Scheduled To Play Monday At Raley Field

(Sac State Media Relations)

STOCKTON, Calif. – After unplayable conditions at John Smith Field forced a change of venue, Sacramento State defeated South Dakota State 11-3 at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton.

Sacramento State (6-3) and South Dakota State (0-10) will play a third game in their rain-altered series on Monday night at Raley Field. Game time will be 6 p.m.

The Hornets had season highs with 14 hits and 11 runs on Sunday, jumping on South Dakota State starter Ryan Froom with six runs in the first two innings. Junior catcher Gunner Pollman went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and a run scored, recording career highs in both hits and RBIs in a game. Senior Chris Lewis was 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs while junior Kody Reynolds and sophomore Bronson Grubbs also had two hits in the contest.

Freshman Matt Smith (El Dorado High) had a hit and an RBI before having to leave the game when he was hit by a pitch. He extended his season-long hitting streak to nine games and has an RBI in eight of nine games this year.

On the mound senior Grant Kukuk earned his first win of the year, allowing just three runs (two earned) on eight hits with three strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched. Relievers Ryan Smith and Jonny Palsha pitched the last 2.1 innings without allowing a hit.

The teams were out on John Smith Field Sunday anticipating a doubleheader beginning at 10 a.m., but a muddy warning track caused by overnight rain made the field unplayable. The teams took the 45-minute drive down to Stockton for a 1 p.m. first pitch at Nick Cecchetti Field on the campus of San Joaquin Delta College.

Weather permitting, the Hornets will be playing two straight games at Raley Field with the contest Monday night against South Dakota State and a game against Nevada at 6 p.m. Wednesday night under the Raley lights.


Hornets Pile On, Beat SDSU 10-7

By Editor Rick Cabral

Sacramento State’s offense broke out this morning and posted a 10-7 victory over visiting South Dakota State in the first of a scheduled four-game non-conference series.

In the 7th inning, the Hornets (5-3) padded their lead by four runs when Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) knocked in two runs, preceded by RBI singles by Vinny Esposito (Granite Bay High) and Kody Reynolds.

Those tallies pushed the Hornets lead to 10-4 and it’s a good thing they added on, for the Jackrabbits notched three tallies in the ninth, finishing with a final score 10-7.

Left-hander Sam Long (1-2) pitched five strong innings, limiting SDSU to two earned runs (twice as many as LSU got off him). Long, the former Del Campo High champion, won his first game of the 2016 season, allowing six hits, no walks, while fanning seven during his short outing. He commanded his fastball extremely well, and kept the Jackrabbits off balance with a 12-6 curve ball

Sac State scored two runs in the first, third and fifth innings. But the Jackrabbits (0-9), who came into the contest hitting .258 as a team, never gave in, knocking 13 hits to the Hornets 11. Five SDSU players had two hits in the game.

Esposito, the sophomore first baseman, led all Hornets hitters, going 3-for-4 with a double and three runs batted in. Senior Chris Lewis knocked in two runs with a triple to right center field in the fifth (following back-to-back errors by the J-Rabbits infield). Reynolds also had a pair of RBI on two hits.

Freshman Matt Smith (El Dorado High) went 2-for-3 with one RBI, extending his hitting streak to eight games. Plus, Smith now has an RBI in all but one game for a total of 10, which— coming into today’s game—led all Western Athletic Conference hitters.

The Hornets rearranged this weekend’s schedule due to the predicted rains, starting today’s first game of a double-header at 10 a.m. At 12:30, just as the game was concluding a light rain began to fall, throwing into jeopardy whether the teams will start and/or finish the the 2 p.m. game (Those thunderclaps in the background as we write suggest they won't).

And Saturday and Sunday’s games are in doubt as well due to a wave of storms predicted to slam Sacramento this weekend.

But are we complaining? No, we are not, says this native Sacramentan who is not looking forward to a fifth consecutive season of drought.

Plus, with Season 4 of House of Cards premiering today, we’ll find a way to pass the time.


Tigers Take Series with 11-1 Win Over Sac State

Baton Rouge, Louisiana—For six innings lefty starter John Valek shut out Sacramento State, while his Tigers (5-2) teammates scored eight times, leading to a 11-1 LSU win and the series. 

Sacramento State (4-3) didn’t get a hit off Valek until Vinny Esposito (Granite Bay High) singled in the fifth inning.

The Hornets finally tallied in the seventh inning when Blake Edmondson doubled off the wall, and scored when Matt Smith (El Dorado High) golfed a curve ball for a single to left.

The freshman Smith has now hit safely in all seven games of his young collegiate career.

Valek regained the LSU momentum with two strikeouts to end the inning. He gave up four hits, one earned run, no walks and struck out six.

Whereas Sac State played error-free yesterday in the win, they posted three more errors today, totaling seven for the weekend series; uncharacteristic for a Reggie Christiansen-coached Hornets team.

The Hornets return to Sacramento and will play a four-game home stand beginning Friday March 4 against South Dakota State.

Their home game Wednesday March 9 against Nevada will be played at Raley Field, where the Hornets play just twice in 2016.



Hornets Ninth-Inning Rally Leads to 5-4 Win Over LSU

by Rick Cabral (with an assist by Sac State Media Relations)

The Hornets of Sacramento scored twice in the ninth inning and held on to win 5-4 against No. 5-ranked Louisiana State (4-2) at Alex Box Stadium.

Reliever Ty Beardsley (1-0) closed out the game with two shutout innings, retiring the side in the ninth to give Sacramento State (4-2) the win.

Down 4-3 in the last inning, senior Chris Lewis lined a sharp grounder off Tigers’ shortstop Cole Freeman, who misplayed the tough hop and came out of the game due to injury. Kody Reynolds promptly singled.

Up stepped the freshman Matt Smith (El Dorado High) wearing the proverbial Golden Sombrero for his previous four strike outs. Smith singled through the right side, scoring Lewis, who tied the game. Reynolds scored on Vinny Esposito’s (Granite Bay High), sacrifice fly to give Sacramento State the 5-4 lead.

"This was one of the most unbelievable wins I've ever been a part of," Sacramento State head coach Reggie Christiansen said after the game.

The Hornets took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning thanks to Trent Goodrich’s RBI-double.

The Tigers roared back with four runs in the third inning against starter Grant Kekuk to take a 4-1 lead.

In the following frame, Esposito homered off LSU starter Alex Lange to left field to cut the lead to 4-2. Catcher Gunner Polman doubled and came home on Andrew McWilliam’s single to trim the deficit to 4-3.

In his five innings, Lange (1-0) allowed six hits, three walks and three earned runs, but struck out nine. Right-hander Hunter Newman relieved Lange in the sixth inning and struck out the side.

Sac State rallied in the seventh off Newman, placing runners at first and second with one out. Freshman Caleb Gilbert (0-1) was summoned from the Tigers bullpen, and promptly fanned Matt Smith (his 4th strikeout of the game). Gilbert then retired Esposito on an infield pop-up to squelch the rally.

In the eighth inning, Sac State failed to deliver in a similar situation. With runners at the corners and one out Blake Edmondson (replacement for catcher Polman) was thrown out at home by Gilbert on Bronson Grubbs’ safety squeeze. The Hornets’ two base runners advanced to third and second on a wild pitch, but Gilbert fanned McWilliam to end the rally.

Despite 17 strikeouts, the Hornets managed 10 hits off Tigers pitching, including Smith’s clutch hit that tied the game (he has hit safely in all six games to open the season). Reynolds led the Hornets with three hits, and Esposito knocked in two runs, including the game-winner.

The Hornets relief corp of Tanner Olson, Chad Perry and Beardsley pitched six shutout innings to keep Sac State in the game. Shortstop Goodrich made a nice play in the eighth inning throwing out a runner at the plate to keep the Hornets within one run.

The two teams return tomorrow at 11 a.m. (PST) for the rubber match.


Hornets Drop Game One at LSU 6-0

Baton Rouge, Louisiana—Through the first six innings, visiting Sacramento State (3-2) committed four infield errors, allowing Louisiana State (4-1) to score an equal number of runs as the Tigers took the first game in the weekend series 6-0.

The loss snaps the Hornets’ three-game winning streak. They won once at Northwestern State (Louisiana) on Wednesday and took the final two games at Auburn last weekend.

Hornets’ starter Sam Long (0-2) allowed six hits and four runs, but pitched well as he allowed only one earned run in his second start of the season.

Meantime, Tigers’ southpaw Jared Poche’ (1-0) silenced Sacramento State hitters on a cold night in Baton Rouge, allowing just two singles in his six innings of work. Poche’ walked three and fanned eight, primarily with a wicked curve ball.

Down two runs in the sixth inning, Long had kept State in the game. But he allowed a leadoff single. One batter later, Long fielded a swinging bunt, but as the pitcher threw to first base he slipped, and his errant throw hit the runner in the back, and both runners were safe. A sacrifice bunt followed by a sacrifice fly scored one run, chasing Long (Del Campo High) from the game.

Right-hander Ryan Smith entered the game and induced a grounder to shortstop, but the Hornets Trent Goodrich committed his second error of the game, and the Tigers padded their lead to 4-0.

In the seventh, the Bayou Bengals added on as Smith allowed a leadoff single to Jake Fraley, who then stole second base. Beau Jordan’s second base hit of the game scored Fraley, giving the Tigers a 5-0 lead and Jordan his second run batted in.

LSU tacked on one more run in the eighth inning when reliever Jonny Palsha allowed Kramer Robertson’s RBI single, resulting in the final score, 6-0. Like Jordan, Kramer went 2-for-4 with two RBI. O’Neal Lochridge went 2-for-3 with one RBI for LSU.

The two teams tangle again tomorrow at noon Pacific Time at Alex Box Stadium.


State Wins Rubber Match with 7-6 Extra Inning Thriller at Auburn

Trent Goodrich’s sacrifice fly in the top of the 12th inning gave Sacramento State (2-1) a 7-6 win and the rubber match in a see-saw battle as the Hornets took two of three from the Auburn Tigers (1-2).

Freshman Matt Smith (El Dorado High) doubled to open the Hornets final frame. He was sacrificed to third, and scored on Goodrich’s fly ball.

The Tigers made things interesting in their half of the 12th inning, putting runners at first and second base with one out. But pitcher Chad Perry (Marysville High) induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

The Hornets took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning when senior Chris Lewis doubled in a run, and Smith’s sacrifice fly gave the Sacramentans their second run. But for the third consecutive game the Tigers’ Niko Buentello drove in three runs with one swing when he homered to center as Auburn retook the lead. Buentello now has 10 RBI for the season.

Sacramento State answered with another pair of runs in the second. Andrew McWilliam knocked in Brandon Hunley (Christian Brothers) and later scored on a wild pitch to give State a 4-3 lead.

But Auburn plated two more runs in the third inning and got an insurance run on Buentello’s RBI in the fourth.

With Auburn leading 6-4 in the eighth inning Hunley, the junior second baseman, knocked in Goodrich and eventually scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.

Hornets relievers whitewashed the Tigers for the final six frames, including two shutout innings by Perry, who earned his first win of the season by allowing just one hit and a walk in the seven batters he faced.

McWilliam, Hunley and Goodrich each had two hits, while freshman Smith stroked three safeties, including his sixth RBI. Smith is hitting .545 in his first three college contests.

Starting pitcher Max Karnos allowed five earned runs in his three innings.

Sacramento State moves on to face Northwestern State in  Natchitoches, Louisianafor two mid-week games against the Demons, who play in the Division I Southland Conference.

They take on the LSU Tigers for a three-game weekend series beginning Friday.


Sac State's 4-Run 8th Inning Leads to 6-5 Win Over Auburn

Visiting Sacramento State overcame a 5-2 deficit by scoring four runs in the eighth inning on Chris Lewis' 2-run homer and run-scoring doubles by Matt Smith and Brandon Hunley en route to its first win this season, a 6-5 victory at Auburn.

Pitcher Tyler Beardsley earned a save with two scoreless innings to close out the victory.

With the score tied 2-2 in the seventh inning, slugger Niko Buontello slammed a two-out. three-run homer over the centerfield fence off Austin Ragsdale (Bradshaw Christian) to give the Tigers the 5-2 lead.

Despite giving up the three-run bomb, Ragsdale (1-0) earned his first victory of the year.

Hornets' starter Justin Dillon (El Dorado Hills) left the game after just five pitches due to a possible leg injury. Right-hander Grant Kekuk came on in relief and shut down the first nine Auburn batters. Kekuk limited the Tigers to two runs (1 earned) over his 4.2 innings.

The Hornets' offense pounded nine hits, led by catcher Gunner Pollman and Smith who each had a pair of hits (including a double in the pivotal eighth inning). Smith, the freshman designated hitter from El Dorado High, had two runs batted in. He now has five for the season.

The teams return to Plainsman Park tomorrow at 11 a.m. (PST) for the rubber match of the three-game series. 


Hornets Drop Opener at Auburn 10-5 

Sacramento State dropped the season opener 10-5 at Auburn University this afternoon. 

Starter Sam Long (Del Campo High) had one of the shortest outings of his career, as the junior left-hander allowed five runs (two earned) in four innings.

Three Tigers pitchers limited the Hornets to seven hits but their defense made an equal number of errors.

State designated hitter freshman Matt Smith knocked in three of the Hornets runs, while Bronson Grubbs went 2-for-4. Auburn first baseman Niko Buentello also had a pair of hits and knocked in three runs for the Tigers, who collected 14 hits.

Long (o-1), who took the loss, was tabbed the Western Athletic Conference preseason Pitcher of the Year. The Tigers’ Cole Lipscomb (1-0) went five innings and allowed just one earned run for the victory.

Today’s game marked the first meeting between the two teams, and is just the second time the Hornets have faced a Southeastern Conference team. 

The teams return to Hitchcock Field at Plainsman Park tomorrow at 11 a.m. for the second game of the series. 

2/17/16 (updated 2:00 p.m.)

Hornets Open ’16 Season On Road Against Auburn

by Editor Rick Cabral (with an assist from Andrew Tomskey, CSUS Media Relations)

Sacramento State this Friday opens the 2016 season with an eight-game road trip in the southeast. The Hornets open with a three-game series at Auburn and conclude with a three-game set at number-11 ranked Louisiana State (by Baseball America).

The Hornets were picked to finish second in the Western Athletic Conference in a recent coaches poll, just behind Grand Canyon, which is again ineligible to claim the crown until it completes the transition to Division-1. Sac State last year finished 33-27 (16-11 WAC).

The team is led by junior Sam Long (Del Campo High) and sophomore Vinny Esposito (Granite Bay High) who were selected WAC preseason Pitcher of the Year and first baseman respectively.

Sixth-year head coach Reggie Christiansen, in a team-conducted interview this week, made this assessment about his club:

“I believe our strength will again be our pitching and defense along with the depth we have on the position player side.”

Sac State welcomes 17 returning players, including seven position players, with 12 newcomers joining the roster. But Christiansen has some huge holes to fill.

His primary challenge will be finding a shortstop to replace four-year starter Scotty Burcham. Plus, he's seeking two frontline starters to compliment Long and junior Justin Dillon (El Dorado High).

Additionally, he needs to find a closer after Sutter McLoughlin (Rio Americano) went pro last summer. McLoughlin, the all-time WAC Saves leader, set the school's career earned run mark as well.

Coach Reggie knows there’s no replacing three-year All-WAC outfielder Nathan Lukes who set the school career hits mark last spring, but he has a number of options for the lineup’s three-hole.

Auburn Tigers | 2015: All: 36-26 | SEC: 13-17 | Home: 25-11

Auburn returns every starting position player and seven pitchers but has 19 newcomers in 2016. The Tigers made the NCAA Regionals last season and were ranked as high as No. 23 in the nation last season, though they finished ninth in the SEC. The squad returned ace Cole Lipscomb, who was 8-2 with a 2.53 ERA last year, and closer Justin Camp, who will start for the Tigers on Saturday. The Hornets and Tigers have never before met. Auburn is unranked but received votes in the preseason NCBWA poll.

Sacramento State has never faced Auburn before but has had recent success playing at power conferences. In 2013 the Hornets opened their season at Texas and picked up a Saturday win, then in 2014 Sacramento State won at No. 21 Texas A&M, another SEC school, in the series opener playing before a sellout crowd. Texas A&M is the only SEC team the Hornets have ever previously faced.

About the upcoming road trip to SEC territory, Christiansen noted “This trip is going to be a special one for our team and I believe it will pay dividends as we make another run at a NCAA tournament appearance, just as it did in 2014 when we traveled to Texas A&M.”

Friday's season-opener will be at 1 p.m. Pacific time with first pitch Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. Pacific. Friday and Saturday's games will be broadcast live on SEC Network +, available on

The Hornets open at home on March 4 with a four-game series against South Dakota State.


Long, Esposito Earn Pre-Season WAC Honors

Sac State Media Relations

DENVER - The Sacramento State baseball team has been picked to finish second in the 10 team Western Athletic Conference (WAC) by the league coaches, the conference announced Wednesday.

Additionally, junior LHP Sam Long was selected as the WAC Preseason Pitcher of the Year and sophomore Vinny Esposito was chosen as the league's top first baseman on the Preseason all-WAC team.

The Hornets earned 74 points and four first place votes in the poll finishing just behind Grand Canyon, which had 77 points and five first place votes to be picked to repeat as WAC champion. As was the case last year, Grand Canyon is still not eligible to compete in the WAC or NCAA Tournaments as it reclassifies to Div. I. Seattle U was a distant third in the poll with 57 points



Sam Long, Sacramento State

Long (Del Campo High), a former Freshman All-American, enters his junior year seventh in program history with a 2.92 career ERA. He was also named a top collegiate prospect on's College 300 going into the 2016 season.

Last year Long led the WAC and ranked 13th in all of NCAA Div. I with a 0.85 WHIP. He was also second in the WAC with a .198 opposing batting average and allowed just 64 hits and totaled a team-high 63 strikeouts to just 16 walks. He started the 2015 season 5-0 with a 1.73 ERA through seven games (six starts).

As a freshman, Esposito (Granite Bay High) led Sacramento State and was tied for third in the WAC with eight home runs. He was also third on the team with a .423 slugging percentage, totaling 28 RBIs. Esposito was strong defensively at first base as well, leading the WAC with 548 putouts with a .991 fielding percentage.  

Sacramento State has 17 total returning letter winners and 12 newcomers in 2016, with just two freshmen and 10 new transfers. The squad finished tied for fourth place in the regular season in 2015 and got within one win of reaching the championship game at the WAC Tournament before falling to eventual tournament champion CSU Bakersfield.

Updated 6/30/16
All contents © Rick Cabral, 2010-2016